Synopsis: The petitioner argues that, as the police themselves are under scrutiny in this case, the investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department under the West Bengal police can not be preserved in the light of justice.
A PIL was filed in the Calcutta High Court seeking instructions to assign the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the death in Titagarh, West Bengal, of a lawyer and social worker named Manish Shukla, who was shot dead on October 4.
The petitioner further demands that the Court monitor the present investigation. It is urged that, under the provisions of Section 357A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the State of West Bengal should be ordered to pay compensation to the family of the deceased.
Advocate Priyanka Tibrewal, the petitioner, alleged that the dead victim was mercilessly shot down by unidentified motorcycle assailants near the Titagarh Police Station last Sunday at around 8:30 p.m.
The petition notes that Shukla was shot in a crowded area “which is reflective of an abysmal law and order situation and utter disregard for the state’s civic machinery,” alleging that the murder took place in a pre-planned manner.
Although the killing took place metres away from a police station, it is noted that the CCTV video from a nearby medical store was destroyed. Also, other CCTV footage citing camera malfunctioning has not been released, leading to fears that foul play could occur.
The petitioner claims, based on comments made by local witnesses, that one of the gunmen who shot the victim was affiliated with different political leaders and may have had a political motive to assassinate Shukla.
The plea adds that the Government of West Bengal’s Cabinet Minister of Urban Development and Civic Affairs and the Mayor of Kolkata, Firhad Hakim (in a video posted on Youtube by the news agency, Kolkata Today) have claimed that West Bengal criminals do not use these types of weapons.
The petitioner asks in this sense, “Does he know them personally or is he associated with criminals?”
In addition, the petitioner claims that the family of the victim has told her that the police are threatening them with drastic consequences if they move the courts to seek legal redress.
The police are also suspected to be privy to the pre-planned murder of Shukla, as they were totally unaware of the murder taking place in a reasonably busy area under their supervision and near their office premises.
It is also noted that the police authorities provided Shukla with security guards for his safety. The security guards had, however, taken leave from duty on the day of the murder.
As such, the petitioner argues that the investigation by the Department of Criminal Investigation under the West Bengal Police can not be maintained in the eyes of the law, because the police authorities themselves are under scrutiny in the case.