Bengal govt questions central agencies’ conviction rate in HC; ED alleges non-cooperation | India News

NEW DELHI: The West Bengal government on Thursday raised concerns in Calcutta high court about the conviction rate of central agencies involved in probing cases in the state, while the Enforcement Directorate’s counsel criticized the lack of cooperation in taking the investigation forward.
Advocate General Kishore Dutta, representing the state, opposed transferring the investigation into alleged sexual assault and land grabbing cases in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district.Dutta argued before a division bench led by Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam that the central agencies have lost the trust placed in them.
Deputy Solicitor General Dhiraj Trivedi, representing the ED, accused the state of non-cooperation, questioning how investigations could progress under such circumstances.
Trivedi highlighted that the high court had directed central agencies to investigate various cases in the state, citing instances like the post-2021 West Bengal election violence, where the local police were deemed inadequate. He further mentioned challenges in obtaining sanctions from the state for prosecuting certain accused individuals in the school jobs scam case.
Following arguments from all parties, the division bench, including Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, reserved judgment on the petitions. Petitioner-lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal, who sought the investigation’s transfer to the CBI, presented numerous complaints from alleged victims of sexual assault, land seizures, and violence in Sandeshkhali. Tibrewal requested the formation of a committee to address these complaints and compensation for the victims.
The Advocate General suggested the court could consider instituting a PIL to evaluate the outcomes of CBI investigations over the past decade and the conviction rates of central probe agencies like the CBI and ED. Emphasizing the need for genuine concerns, Dutta questioned the research conducted by those approaching the court regarding the Sandeshkhali issue.
He also noted that there were no prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC in place in Sandeshkhali and advocated for the state police to investigate the complaints.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice expressed strong disapproval upon reviewing the affidavit presented to the court, stating, “the entire district administration and ruling dispensation must owe a moral responsibility. Even if the affidavit 1% is true it is absolutely shameful. And West Bengal says it is safest for women? If one affidavit is proved to be right all of this falls.”
ED has taken Sandeshkhali accused Sheikh Shahjahan after interrogation in a Prevention of Money Laundering Act case. The central agency interrogated Shahjahan at the Basirhat Sub Correctional Home in North 24 Parganas district.
Shahjahan was first arrested by the Basirhat district police in February on charges of planning and orchestrating the attack on ED and CAPF teams on January 5.
Later, he was handed over to the CID of the Bengal police after the latter took over the investigation, before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took him into custody following an order from the Calcutta high court.

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