The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday blamed the Mamata Banerjee government for not granting sanction for the prosecution of the state police and other state officials in the Nandigram police firing case during the CPI(M) regime in 2007.
Taking exception to the CBI’s report, Justices Ashim Kumar Banerjee and Mrinal Kanti Chaudhuri directed the state to submit an action taken report on CBI’s plea for granting sanction for prosecution of the erring police officials for hearing on June 21. The directive came on a petition filed by the family members of fourteen villagers, who were shot by policemen. Several women were also allegedly raped.
Asked by the court, the agency reported that it had concluded the probe and was ready to file a charge sheet, but was awaiting sanction from the state for prosecution of some police officials. The CBI reported that it had written to the state on December 5, 2012 and also clarified some points on April 17, 2013, but till date the state had not granted sanction.
The court had sought a CBI status report after advocate Rajdip Majumdar, representing the affected villagers, told the court that despite the passage of over six years the CBI had not filed a charge sheet in the Nandigram firing case.
Recently, the CBI reportedly submitted a report to the Mamata Banerjee government, giving a clean chit to former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in the case. The agency, however, reportedly indicted twelve top cops and government officials responsible for the firing without provocation from villagers. The agency also sought the state’s permission to file a charge sheet against five cops. It also recommended a “major penalty” against the then district magistrate Anup Agarwal and five other officers.
The incident occurred on March 14, 2007 when armed CPI(M) cadres in police uniform, along with about 3,000 cops, allegedly raided Nandigram and attacked the villagers from three sides. The then inspector general of police, Arun Gupta, along with superintendent of police Ganghi Srinivasan and additional superintendent of police Tanmay Roychowdhury, allegedly led the attack from one side where eleven people were killed.
In another spot, two IPS officers, Satyajit Bandhopadhay and Debashish Baral, were allegedly present along with the officer-in-charge of Nandigram Shekhar Ray.
Acting on a PIL moved by Trinamool MP and advocate Kalyan Banerjee, the high court directed the CBI to probe the incident, but not file a charge sheet without its permission. Subsequently, the high court held the police firing “unconstitutional” and also ordered compensation to the deceased’s family, rape victims and seriously injured persons.
Although the CPI(M) government paid compensation to the victims, it challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court. Subsequently, Mamata Banerjee withdrew the appeal from the apex court.