Calcutta High Court to monitor CID probe into Kamduni case

Kolkata, July 4 (IANS) Disapproving of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee setting a time frame for the probe into the Kamduni gang-rape and murder case, the Calcutta High Court Thursday said it would monitor the CID inquiry into the matter.

The division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi directed the CID to submit a report on the course of the inquiry by July 30, when the bench will again take up the matter.

The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) pleading for the constitution of a Special Investigation Team into the sexual assault on a college girl in North 24 Parganas district June 7. The petition also sought that the court monitor investigations by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The court said it would keep an eye on the probe, but observed that if the head of the administration sets a deadline for completion of the inquiry, investigators would be put under pressure.

During her visit to the house of the victim at Kamduni village June 17, Banerjee had said the charge sheet in the case would be submitted within 15 days.

"The charge sheet will be submitted before the court within 15 days. The trial will be fast-tracked to ensure the perpetrators are punished within a month. The administration is working to ensure the culprits are given the death penalty," Banerjee had said.

Without naming the chief minister, the bench observed that such comments result in the investigators rushing through the probe process, under pressure.

Saying that such statements were populist, the court said the head of the administration should exercise caution before making such comments.

The high court's directive and observations come a day after a fast-track court criticised the state CID for submitting an incomplete charge sheet in the case.

Fast-track court Judge Arpan Chatterjee questioned the CID on why a forensic report was not presented, and names of some more accused people were found missing from the charge sheet.

The second-year college student was abducted, raped and killed by a group of young men June 7, while she was returning home after appearing for an examination in Barasat in North 24 Parganas district.

Eight people have been arrested for the crime.

The incident created a furore with political parties, rights organisations and women's groups criticising the Banerjee administration for its failure to curb crimes against women.

The brutal crime was closely followed by the National Crime Records Bureau's latest report, which ranked West Bengal as the state with the largest number of crimes against women. As many as 30,942 such incidents were reported in the state in 2012.

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