Calcutta HC tells Bengal govt to file report on 4 custodial deaths in a span of 10 days

A probe by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was initiated for investigating the deaths.

Kolkata: A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the West Bengal government to file a report within two weeks on four custodial deaths at the Baruipur Correctional Home in South 24 Parganas district within a span of 10 days, between end of July and beginning of August this year.

All the four victims — Abdul Razzak Dewan (34), Jia-Ul-Laskar (36), Akbar Khan (40) and Saidul Munshi (34) — were picked up by the police in four different cases related to attempts to dacoity. All of them mysteriously died while in judicial custody at the Baruipur Correctional Home within a period 10 days with alleged torture marks on their bodies.

A probe by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was initiated for investigating the deaths.

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The state government also paid a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to victims’ families, along with state government job to one member of each family.

However, the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) filed a PIL with the division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj, demanding a CBI probe or a judicial inquiry into the matter by a retired judge of the Calcutta High Court.

The counsel for APDR, Kaushik Gupta, told IANS that the matter was heard on Tuesday, following which the division bench directed the state government to file a detailed report in the matter within the next two weeks. The matter will next come up for hearing on January 15.

The state government was represented by Advocate General S.N. Mukhopadhyay, who acknowledged the seriousness of the matter and assured the court of filing the report within the period specified by the division bench.

APDR General Secretary Ranjit Sur told IANS that all the four persons died while in custody in the same correctional home, and they all belonged to the minority community, which raises doubts about the involvement of the police in the matter.

“We have no faith in CID inquiry, which is nothing but an arm of the state police. So, we have moved a PIL in the Calcutta High Court seeking a probe into the matter by an independent agency like the CBI or by a judicial committee headed by a retired judge of the high court,” he said.

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