Netai killings: SC pulls up WB govt for opposing CBI probe

The Supreme Court pulled up West Bengal govt for opposing a CBI probe into the killing of nine people at Netai village near Maoist-hit Lalgarh allegedly by CPI-M members.

Updated: Mar 01, 2011, 19:35 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up
West Bengal government for opposing a CBI probe into the
killing of nine people at Netai village near Maoist-hit
Lalgarh allegedly by CPI-M members and sought the
communication exchanged between Home Minister P Chidambaram
and Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya on the issue.

"It is very unfortunate that West Bengal government can`t
accept the authority of the highest judicial court and the
High Court", a Bench comprising Justices GS Singhvi and AK
Ganguly said while refusing to stay the Calcutta High Court
order directing a CBI probe into the incident.

The Bench, which made these remarks repeatedly, asked the
state government to submit "all correspondence between the
Home Minister and the Chief Minister following Netai killings",
before it by March 3rd.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for West Bengal
government, contended there were "political overtones" in the
orders of the High Court directing the case to be handed over
to CBI.

West Bengal government has challenged the February 18th
order of the Calcutta High Court directing it to hand over to
CBI the investigation into the January 7 killing of nine
people at Netai village near Lalgarh, observing that the CID
was unable to conduct an impartial probe owing to alleged
involvement of CPI-M members and leaders.

The High Court had directed CID to hand over the papers
of the case and the two accused in its custody to CBI
forthwith stating it (CID) has not been able to carry on with
the investigation impartially.

The High Court had also directed the CID to cooperate
with and assist the central agency as and when required.

The High Court had decided to monitor the progress of
investigation into the case.

The Division Bench of the High Court was unhappy as
the CID has not been able to progress beyond a point in
arresting all the accused who had fired on innocent villagers
and those who were involved in setting up the armed camp in
the house of a CPI-M leader at Netai.

The bench had said it has no hesitation to come to the
conclusion that the CID was not being able to take the
investigation beyond this point as the suspects are members
and leaders of the ruling party.

Lalgarh, in which Netai village is situated, had earlier
been a Maoist hotbed but was later reclaimed by CPI-M which
has allegedly set up several armed camps there.

Before passing the order, the High Court had gone through
the case diary in the matter and observed that the CID
had not been able to progress after the arrest of two accused,
CPI-M worker Aswini Chalak and Abani Singh, a member of
CPI-M`s Lalgarh local committee.

PTI