Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court has admitted a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which the Centre supported, seeking a CBI investigation into the firing at Lalgarh in West Midnaporec district on January 7.
Noting that the police had reached several hours late and an FIR was lodged about 11 hours after the firing in which seven villagers were shot dead and several seriously injured, a division bench comprising Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice Asim Ray directed the state to submit the case diary in the court on Tuesday.
The court directed the state to send a DIG-level police officer to the Lalgarh police station and get the documents for submission to the court.
The Bar Association of Calcutta High Court moved the PIL seeking a CBI investigation claiming that any probe by the state authorities would not be impartial.
Appearing for the government of India, Additional Solicitor General Farooq M Razzak submitted that the state government has not been able to take any action to contain violence despite several letters by the Union Home Minister.
He submitted that as such, given the situation, the government of India supported the prayer for a CBI probe.
Appearing for the Bar Association, senior counsel Sukhendu Sekhar Roy submitted that the Governor of West Bengal had described the incident as a carnage and asked the government to begin to act decisively.
The incident has violated the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution for the people of the affected area to live with dignity, while the police remained a mute spectator, Roy claimed in his submission.
The petitioners submitted that as the police had failed to act properly despite being called several times by the villagers and arrived several hours late though the Lalgarh police station was just 3.5 km away from Netai village where the alleged CPM cadres fired on villagers, there could be little faith in state agencies.
Representing the state, Advocate General Balai Roy submitted that the West Bengal government had no problem if a CBI probe was ordered, but asked why it was necessary when the CID was already probing it.
The Association also prayed for a direction to the state to give a compensation of Rs 25 lakh each to the kin of dead persons and Rs 10 lakh each to those who suffered bullet injuries.
They also appealed that a job be given to the kin of those who died. The matter would be taken up for hearing again on Tuesday.