The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered a CBI investigation into the murder of Congress councillor Tapan Kandu of Jhalda municipality in West Bengal's Purulia district.
Justice Rajasekhar Mantha directed the central agency to submit a report on its investigation in the case in 45 days.
Advocate Koustav Bagchi appeared for the Petitioners while Advocate General S.N. Mookherjee appeared for the State and Additional Solicitor General Y.J. Dastoor appeared for the CBI.
Ordering the transfer of the investigation from the West Bengal police to the CBI, the Court directed the state police to hand over all documents related to the case to the central agency.
Kandu was shot dead by assailants on March 13 while he was on an evening walk at Jhalda near his residence. The councillor's widow Purnima Kandu had moved the high court seeking a CBI investigation in the murder of her husband, alleging complicity of local police in the case.
The counsel for Purnima submitted before the Court that the superintendent of police of Purulia district in a press conference on Sunday gave a clean chit to the inspector in charge of Jhalda police station even before the probe by the state police was completed. The SP had told the media that the murder was a result of a family feud and the two arrested were relatives of the deceased.
The Court noted that the accused Dipak had contested on the ruling political party ticket against the deceased, who was an INC candidate, and had lost to the latter. The two political parties had won five seats each and two other seats were won by independent candidates. "The death of the Tapan Kandu would have clearly tilted the balance of the control of power of the Jhalda Municipality Board, in favour of the Ruling Party", Court noted.
The Court noted that Inspector-in-Charge of the Jhalda Police Station, who has been accused of facilitating the crime has not been taken into custody and is still on duty. The Court noted that there is an allegation that the Inspector-in-Charge tried to woo the deceased to the ruling political party. "It is also stated that not only were requests made, but at times, there were threats issued. The petitioners claimed to have audio recordings of such threats, demands or requests from the said Inspector-in-Charge", the Court noted in its order.
The Court noted that the Superintendent of Police who had been summoned and is under investigation in connection with the Coal Scam had held a press conference giving clean chit to the Inspector-in-Charge.
"The public at large, need to see that the Rule of Law is still prevalent, given the gravity and politically sensitive nature of the crime. Justice must be seen to be done. Satisfaction of the de facto complainant, petitioners' family members and persons associated with them also needs to be addressed", the Court observed while transferring the investigation to the CBI.