SC questions WB govt for filing plea against court-monitored CBI probe into Sandeshkhali cases

Insight Online News

New Delhi, April 29 : The Supreme Court on Monday raised eyebrows on the filing of the plea by the West Bengal government against the court-monitored CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe into land grabbing and extortion cases in Sandeshkhali.

“Why should the state government come as the petitioner for protecting the interests of some private individuals?,” asked a bench presided over by Justice BR Gavai.

The Bench, also comprising Justice Sandeep Mehta, questioned the filing of the special leave petition (SLP) by the state government saying that the Calcutta High Court only ordered an investigation into the land grabbing and other allegations.

Explaining the stance of the state government, senior advocate Jaideep Gupta said that the plea is filed against certain findings and “unfair comments” contained in the impugned order of the high court.

At this, Justice Mehta said, “You can go to the high court and ask for expunging of the remarks if you are aggrieved.”

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, also appearing for the state government, sought an adjournment for filing of additional information.

“Can your lordships consider it (listing) after two or three weeks because this information will be relevant,” submitted Singhvi.

On similar lines, Gupta said, “We are only asking for one week. Kindly fix it next Monday. We want to put some material on record.”

At this, Justice Mehta asked, “What prevented you from doing it with the SLP?”

Adjourning the matter post-summer vacation in July, the Supreme Court clarified that the pendency of the petition before the apex court will not be used for “any purposes”, including prolonging of proceedings pending before the Calcutta High Court.

In an order passed on April 10, the Calcutta High Court directed the CBI to commence its probe into the matter after creating a special investigation team (SIT) for that purpose.

A division bench of Chief Justice T. S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya had asked the investigative agency to submit a detailed report to the high court following which the latter will decide on the next course of action.

Several public interest litigations (PILs) were filed before the Calcutta High Court in connection with illegal land grabbing and extortion at Sandeshkhali, where the main accused was a section of the local Trinamool Congress leaders led by the now-suspended ruling party leader Sheikh Shahjahan.

Earlier in March, the Supreme Court had dismissed the plea filed by the state government challenging the CBI probe into the attack on ED and CAPF teams at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas District on January 5.

However, it had ordered to expunge the adverse observations made against the West Bengal Police and the state government in the impugned judgment of the Calcutta High Court.

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