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Supreme Court Rejects West Bengal Government's Plea Against NIA's Probe into Ram Navami Violence Cases

By Harshvardhan Sharma      25 July, 2023 08:23 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Rejects West Bengal Government's Plea Against NIA's Probe into Ram Navami Violence Cases

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea by the West Bengal government against the Calcutta High Court's April 27 order transferring the investigation into six FIRs in connection with Ram Navami violence this year at Howrah and other places to the National Investigation Agency.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra noted that the central government has exercised its Suo Motu power and issued the notification to direct a NIA probe, which was not under challenge by the state government.

The bench said the precise contours of investigation which should be carried by NIA cannot be anticipated at this stage, as there are six FIRs by the state police, which were registered between March 30 to first week of April 2023.

The court also said that the Centre has issued a notification taking suo motu cognizance of the issue under NIA Act, and six FIRs were registered by the NIA, after the High Court's order.

"We are not entertaining the special leave petition in the absence of a challenge to the central government notification," the bench said, dismissing the special leave petition.

Appearing for the West Bengal police, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan submitted the HC's order would have "extremely demoralising" effect on the morale of the state police. He claimed that the six FIRs were registered in connection with different incidents which took place at different places on different dates in the state.

He said that there was no evidence of use of bombs or explosives, therefore the Explosive Substances Act was not invoked. He claimed that smoke grenades and tear gas grenades used by the police to control the mob are being projected as explosives.

Sankaranarayanan also submitted no shrapnel or craters were found. The counsel also claimed the rally organisers change the route approved by the police and incited the violence.

Senior advocate P S Patwalia, appearing for BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, contended that bombs and explosives were widely hurled and it was deliberately omitted by the state police in the FIRs.

A PIL was filed by WB opposition leader Adhikari, seeking probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the violence during the Ram Navami processions in the state.

Allowing his plea, the HC had ordered the state police to hand over the FIRs, case documents, seized materials, CCTV footage, and other evidence to the NIA within two weeks.



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