The Central Bureau of Investigation has been told to take over the case of eight people burnt alive in West Bengal’s Birbhum. The Calcutta High Court transferred the case to the CBI after denying a request by the Mamata Banerjee government to not hand over the investigation to the central agency.
Eight people – all women and children – were beaten and burnt alive by a mob on Tuesday.
A Special Investigation Team formed by the Bengal government will now hand over the case to the CBI. A division bench of the Calcutta High Court comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice R Bharadwaj told the CBI to file a progress report by April 7.
Ms Banerjee has said the suspects would be hunted down if they did not surrender. Battling a furious political backlash over the savage killings and accused by the opposition BJP of condoning political violence, the Chief Minister also alleged that “something big” was behind the incident.
The Chief Minister has indicated she is wary of her rivals politicising the incident. Ms Banerjee and the BJP-led centre has long been fighting on several fronts and the latest incident may just open up another front.
Six women and two children were locked in their homes and burnt alive by a mob on Tuesday at village Bogtui near Rampurhat town, in what was believed to be retaliation after a local Trinamool Congress leader, Bhadu Sheikh, was killed in a crude bomb attack. Charred bodies were found a day later, mostly belonging to one family.