Bengal Government's Reply Sought On BJP Leader's Plea In Party Worker's Death

BJP spokesperson and senior lawyer Gaurav Bhatia had filed a PIL seeking a CBI probe into Dulal Kumar's alleged murder.

Bengal Government's Reply Sought On BJP Leader's Plea In Party Worker's Death

Gaurav Bhatia has sought probe into Dulal Kumar's death and said that he be allowed to pursue the PIL

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court Monday sought the West Bengal government's response on a plea of a BJP leader seeing direction to make him a party in the petition related to alleged murder of BJP activist Dulal Kumar in 2018 in the state.

The body of 32-year-old BJP activist was found hanging from an electric pole in Purulia district's Balarampur of West Bengal on June 2, 2018 after the Panchayat election in the state.

BJP spokesperson and senior lawyer Gaurav Bhatia had filed a PIL seeking a CBI probe into Dulal Kumar's alleged murder.

"You (state government) file the response to the impleadment application within four weeks," said the bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant.

Bhatia, who has sought probe into the death of Dulal Kumar, said the that he be allowed to pursue the PIL and be also made a party in the case.

During the brief hearing senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for West Bengal government, said one day the top court will have to decide whether a political activist can be allowed to file a PIL based on newspaper reports in such cases.

The top court took note of Mr Bhatia's objection to Mr Sibal's submissions and said, "We are conscious that opposition parties are also using the forum of this court".

Referring to the details of the case, Mr Bhatia said the body of Dulal Kumar was found hanging from the electric pole and despite the family of the deceased naming six persons as accused for the killing, the state police took 20 days in lodging the FIR.

Police did not give the copy of post-mortem report of the deceased to his family member, the lawyer said, adding that the police recorded the statement of "entire "mohalla"" but did not record versions of the family members of the victim.

Mr Sibal opposed the submission of Mr Bhatia and said that the plea has been filed on basis of newspaper reports and the death was the result of an extra-marital affair of the deceased. The plea was vehemently opposed.

The bench has now posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.

The top court on March 26, 2019 had asked the state government to furnish the report of medical board constituted by it to ascertain the cause of the death of a Dulal Kumar.

In the PIL, Mr Bhatia had sought CBI probe into the death of three BJP workers -- Shaktipada Sarkar, Trilochan Mahato and Dulal Kumar -- in 2018.

The apex court was satisfied with the action taken by state police in the death cases of Sarkar and Mahto and had decided to close the proceedings in the PIL with regard to their death.

"In the case involving the death of Shaktipada Sardar, three of the accused named in the FIR have been charge-sheeted and they are presently in custody. In addition, other persons not named in the FIR have also been charge-sheeted.

"Having regard to the above facts and availability of alternative remedy to the family members of the deceased, we decline and would not like to continue to entertain this writ petition insofar as the death of Shaktipada Sardar and Trilochan Mahato is concerned," it had said.

It, however, had kept alive the plea with regard to the death Dulal Kumar.

Besides seeking CBI probe, the PIL has also sought compensation of Rs 50 lakh each to the family members of the deceased BJP workers.

The plea has also sought direction to the state to grant "adequate police protection to the family members of the victims as there is an imminent threat to their lives".

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