West Bengal denies allegations in SC that BJP leader’s death was “political murder”

PTI, Jan 5, 2021, 3:19 PM IST

New Delhi: West Bengal government has denied in the Supreme Court the allegations that death of BJP leader Debendra Nath Roy, who was found hanging in July last year, was a “political murder” and said that prompt and efficacious investigation has been conducted in the matter by the state CID.

In its reply affidavit filed in the apex court, which is hearing a plea seeking transfer of investigation in the case to the CBI, the state has said that West Bengal criminal investigation department (CID) has investigated all aspects of the complaints as well as possible causes of death and has already filed a charge sheet in the competent court.

It claimed that the petitioners, while raising “unfounded allegations” against state police authorities, have relied on the tweets by high-ranking public officials to wrongly assume that the incident was pre-planned or that state machinery was involved.

“It is denied that the death of Debendra Nath Roy was a political murder or that the state machinery was used or was an accomplice or involved in any manner in causing such death and it is denied this was a shame on society and violated the right to life guaranteed to the citizens of this nation under Article 21 of the Constitution,” said the reply affidavit filed by Dy.SP CID, Malda zone.

Roy was found hanging near his home in Hemtabad area of North Dinajpur district on July 13 last year. He was elected as an MLA in West Bengal from CPI (M) in 2016 and had later joined the BJP in 2019.

The plea came up for hearing on Tuesday before a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah.

The petitioners, Shashank Shekher Jha and Savio Rodrigues, sought time to respond to the affidavit filed by the state.

The bench posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.

In its reply affidavit, the state has sought dismissal of the plea and said that “allegations and speculations” by the petitioners that Roy was first killed and then hanged is false and without any basis.

It said that on July 14 last year, the investigation of the case was transferred from Raiganj Police to the CID, which has probed all the aspects and filed a charge sheet in the matter.

It said that wife of the deceased had approached the Calcutta High Court praying for transfer of the investigation to the CBI and the high court had disposed of the petition observing that it did not find any biasness on the part of the investigating agency.

The affidavit said the petitioners have sought transfer of investigation to the CBI and have relied on “unverified statements” purportedly given by wife of the deceased and two of his distant relatives.

“These statements do not allege foul play by any state personnel or the police and do not impugn the state police in any manner. The petitioner ought not to misrepresent such statements, as allegations against the state police,” it said.

“Similarly, the petitioner relies on certain tweets posted on the account of Governor of West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar, all dated July 13, 2020, the day of the death of the deceased Mr Roy, which do not take into account the findings of the investigation by the CID,” it said.

It said the apex court has consistently held that transfer of cases to central agencies such as the CBI cannot be a matter of routine.

“To imbue the police authorities and judicial system of the state of West Bengal with accusations of partiality and unfairness, is serious and ought to be substantiated by the petitioner. Such allegations cannot be made without basis and the petitioner is put to strict proof of the same,” it said.

“It is further denied that there is involvement of any state machinery against people having different political ideology or that it has made impossible to trust the investigation carried on by the police officials of the same administration as falsely alleged or at all,” it said.

It said the charge sheet has been filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 306 (abetment of suicide) and 420 (cheating), in the case against the accused who had threatened Roy over the issue related to return of loan.

It said investigation in the case is nearly complete, except for certain expert reports that are pending.

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