In HC, WB govt questions conviction rate of central agencies; ED accuses state of non-cooperation

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Kolkata, Apr 4 (PTI) The West Bengal government on Thursday questioned the conviction rate of central agencies in cases they were probing in the state, while the Enforcement Directorate's counsel accused it of non-cooperation in taking forward investigations.


Opposing prayers for transfer of investigation into alleged sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district, state Advocate General Kishore Dutta claimed before a division bench presided by Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam that central agencies have lost the trust posed on them.

Accusing the state of non-cooperation, the central government's Deputy Solicitor General Dhiraj Trivedi, representing the ED in this matter, asked how the central agencies could take forward the investigations in such a situation.

He submitted that the high court has ordered investigations by central agencies in several cases in the state, including the violence following the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections, as the local police have been found wanting.


Trivedi further stated that in the school jobs scam case, the sanction is not being given by the state for prosecution of some accused persons who were government functionaries.

After hearing the submissions of all advocates on various prayers, the division bench, also comprising Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, reserved judgment on the petitions.

Petitioner-lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal, who prayed for transfer of investigation to the CBI, placed before the division bench a number of complaints by alleged victims of sexual atrocities, land grabbing and violence in Sandeshkhali.


She claimed that the voluminous files contained more than 100 complaints by women alleging sexual assault, apart from several of alleged land grabbing and other instances of violence and destruction of property.

Tibrewal also prayed for constitution of a committee to look into the complaints by the court and payment of compensation to the victims.

The division bench had on March 7 granted permission to Tibrewal, who claimed to represent the victim women, to file an application/supplementary affidavit bringing on record whatever the alleged victims wish to place before this court.


The state's Advocate General submitted that if required, a PIL can be instituted at the instance of the court as to how many CBI investigations were ordered by it in the last 10 years, and what are the results of those and what is the fate of the trials.

He wondered about the conviction rate of the central probe agencies, like the CBI or the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Claiming that the court must be convinced that the people approaching it have no personal interest in the matter, Dutta asked what research was made by the persons who have come before the court on the Sandeshkhali issue.


The AG stated that prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC are not in force anywhere in Sandeshkhali and things are under control.

He prayed that the state police be allowed to investigate the complaints which have come forth.

On the question raised by the AG as to why the alleged victim women did not come up with their complaints earlier, Tibrewal said it happens when general people cannot take atrocities anymore.


She claimed to have moved a PIL before the high court in June 2017 over the alleged rape and murder of a 68-year-old woman in Sandeshkhali.

Another petitioner-lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava, who also sought transfer of probe of the sexual assault and land grabbing cases in Sandehkhali to the CBI, submitted that when there are allegations of bias against the local police by the alleged victims, this is a fit case for transfer to CBI.

Advocate Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee, the amicus curiae appointed by the court in the matter, has already filed a report before it on the allegations of sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing of villagers. PTI AMR NN