The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed that senior IPS officer Damayanti Sen will supervise an alleged incident of gang rape of a woman at Namkhana in South 24 Parganas district while making it clear that it has not rejected a prayer for transfer of the case to the CBI.

Sen is already supervising four other cases of alleged rapes at Matia and Deganga in North 24 Parganas, Englishbazar in Malda district and Bansdroni in Kolkata on an order of the High Court passed on April 12.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice R Bhardwaj directed that Damayanti Sen, Special Commissioner in Kolkata Police, will supervise the case of alleged gang rape of a 40-year-old woman in Namkhana on April 8, after which an attempt was made to burn her alive.

"We make it clear that we have not rejected the prayer for handing over the investigation to the CBI" and if it is found that the probe has not been carried out impartially and fairly, the plea can be considered at an appropriate stage, the Bench said in its order.

The Court also directed that the victim, her family members and the witnesses be extended full protection by the competent authorities.

The West Bengal government on Friday submitted case diaries of five cases of alleged rape, including that of Namkhana, and reports in the form of affidavits disclosing the steps which have been taken till now by the investigating agency following an earlier order of the Court.

The five alleged incidents of gang rape, rape or attempt to rape were reported at Moynaguri in Jalpaiguri district, Netra and Namkhana in South 24 Parganas, Santiniketan in Birbhum and Pingla in Paschim Medinipur.

Two PILs were filed before the high court seeking an investigation into the cases by an independent probe agency or a court-monitored probe. The bench also directed that senior IPS officer Parul Kush Jain will supervise the alleged incident of rape of a woman at Pingla in Paschim Medinipur district.

In the Pingla incident, a woman was allegedly raped by a member of the local village panchayat. A counsel for one of the petitioners submitted before the Court that the accused in the Pingla case is a leader of the ruling Trinamool Congress and a panchayat member and therefore, there is no possibility of a fair investigation by the state police.

Advocate General S N Mookherjee, appearing for the West Bengal government, submitted the case diary and a progress report in the investigation being carried out by the state police stating that the accused has been arrested and statements to two key witnesses have been recorded.

The Bench said that considering the nature of allegations which have been made and also after perusing the materials which have been placed before it, the court is of the opinion that the investigation in the Pingla case should be supervised by a senior lady police officer.

Mookherjee produced a list of five such officers and after perusal of the same, the court directed that the investigation in this case be supervised by Parul Kush Jain, who is the IGP, Traffic, of West Bengal police.

The Court directed the advocate general to file a report regarding further progress of investigation in all the five matters on the next date of hearing on May 2 and "also to do the needful under the Victim Compensation Scheme in accordance with the law."

Click here to read/download Order

With PTI inputs