SC disposes of plea for probe by CBI into alleged suicide of BJP leader in WB

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New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Monday disposed of a plea seeking transfer of the investigation to the CBI in a case related to alleged suicide of BJP leader Debendra Nath Roy in West Bengal while noting that Calcutta High Court has already dealt with the issue. The West Bengal government told the top court that the High Court had already looked into the matter in entirety while hearing the plea filed by the wife of the deceased and said that there was no delay in undertaking a probe into the matter. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy noted that the petitioner before the court was a practicing advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha and a journalist who have sought probe by central agencies like CBI or NIA and transfer of trial from West Bengal to a court in Delhi. The bench noted that Chandrima Roy, widow of the deceased BJP leader in her plea before the High Court has also prayed for transfer of investigation on the ground of inaction on the part of police authorities and the High Court had disposed of the plea on July 20, 2020.

“The writ petition, having been filed by the widow of the deceased and entertained by the High Court and directions having been issued by the High Court where liberty is reserved to the writ petitioner to renew her prayer if the investigation is concluded with the submission of the final report otherwise tainted with biasness or any undue influence on the investigating agency, we see no reason to continue further with this public interest litigation,” the bench said.

Roy was found hanging near his home in Hemtabad area of North Dinajpur district on July 13, last year. He was elected as an MLA in West Bengal from CPI (M) in 2016 and later joined the BJP in 2019.

During the brief hearing, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for West Bengal government, said that the high court had looked into this matter in entirety while hearing the plea filed by the wife of the deceased.

He referred to the high court order as well as the affidavit filed by West Bengal and said there was no delay in undertaking the probe into the matter. Luthra said the high court, while referring to the apex court order, had noted that the probe cannot be transferred to SIT as a routine manner.

The top court had issued notice on the plea by Jha on August 5, 2020 and sought response from the State government and Centre.

In its reply affidavit, the state government has denied the allegations that death of Roy, who was found hanging in July last year, was a “political murder” and said that prompt and efficacious investigation has been conducted in the matter by the state CID.

The state government has said that West Bengal criminal investigation department (CID) has investigated all aspects of the complaints as well as possible causes of death and has already filed a charge sheet in the competent court.

It claimed that the petitioners, while raising “unfounded allegations” against state police authorities, have relied on the tweets by high-ranking public officials to wrongly assume that the incident was pre-planned or that state machinery was involved.

It said that on July 14 last year, the investigation of the case was transferred from Raiganj Police to the CID, which has probed all the aspects and filed a charge sheet in the matter. It had said that the wife of the deceased had approached the Calcutta High Court praying for transfer of the investigation to the CBI and the high court had disposed of the petition observing that it did not find any biases on the part of the investigating agency.

The affidavit said the petitioners have sought transfer of investigation to the CBI and have relied on “unverified statements” purportedly given by the wife of the deceased and two of his distant relatives.

“These statements do not allege foul play by any state personnel or the police and do not impugn the state police in any manner. The petitioner ought not to misrepresent such statements, as allegations against the state police,” it said.

“Similarly, the petitioner relies on certain tweets posted on the account of Governor of West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar, all dated July 13, 2020, the day of the death of the deceased Mr Roy, which do not take into account the findings of the investigation by the CID,” it said.

It said the charge sheet has been filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 306 (abetment of suicide) and 420 (cheating), in the case against the accused who had threatened Roy over the issue related to return of loan.

It said investigation in the case is nearly complete, except for certain expert reports that are pending. PTI MNL ABA MNL RKS RKS