An NHRC committee investigating alleged post-poll violence in West Bengal on Tuesday submitted five sets of report in sealed covers before the Calcutta High Court, which ordered DNA matching of the body of a BJP labour wing leader for identification. A five-judge bench presided over by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal noted that the second post-mortem examination of the body of Abhijit Sarkar, vice-president of Bharatiya Mazdoor Trade Union Council in Kolkata, has been carried out at the Command Hospital as per its earlier direction and that the report was being prepared.
Sarkar was allegedly killed in post-poll violence in Kolkata. His family demanded a second autopsy, which was not acceded to by the police and the administration. The high court on July 2 ordered a second autopsy at the Command Hospital, a military facility. The committee, constituted by the NHRC on the order of the high court to probe alleged human rights violations during post-poll violence, submitted five sets of report in separate sealed covers and was taken on record by the bench.
The bench directed that copies of the report be supplied by the counsel for the NHRC to the advocate general, counsel for the petitioners, the counsel for the Election Commission of India and also to the additional solicitor general of India. The panel had on June 30 submitted an initial report before the court and had sought further time to submit a comprehensive report, which had been granted by the bench.
Additional Solicitor General Y J Dastoor submitted on Tuesday that Biswajit Sarkar, the brother of the deceased, expressed his inability to identify the body on account of its bad condition, following which the bench ordered a DNA matching with the sibling. The ASG submitted that sample for DNA analysis of the deceased has been taken to confirm the identity of the body and that if the matching is allowed with the DNA of his brother, the issue may be resolved.
Mahesh Jethmalani, senior counsel appearing for Biswajit Sarkar, said that he is ready to give his sample for DNA matching with the deceased. The court directed that samples for DNA analysis of his brother Biswajit Sarkar be taken at the Command Hospital on July 15.
The bench refused a prayer by Kishore Dutta, Advocate General of West Bengal, that the investigating officer in the case be allowed to be present at the time of taking the sample of Biswajit Sarkar at the Command Hospital to which serious objection was raised by Jethmalani. “We don’t consider that presence of investigating officer is required as sample of Biswajit Sarkar has to be taken in the Command Hospital,” the bench said.
The court directed that the samples of both Sarkar and the deceased be sent to the director of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Kolkata for analysis. “Director, CFSL, Kolkata is directed to conduct DNA analysis of both the samples at the earliest on priority basis and submit a report to this Court in a sealed cover within one week,” the bench ordered.
It also directed that the body of the deceased be shifted back to the hospital mortuary from where it was taken to the Command Hospital and it should be retained in safe condition until further order is passed by the court. The high court on July 2 ordered a second autopsy of the BJP labour wing leader at the Command Hospital here and issuance of a show cause notice to a deputy commissioner of Kolkata Police as to why contempt proceedings would not be initiated against him for violating its order.
An affidavit filed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, south suburban division, Rashid Munir Khan was taken on record by the bench on Tuesday. The interim report of the NHRC panel had mentioned that Atif Rasheed, a member of the committee was obstructed from discharging his duty when he and his team members were attacked by goons on June 29 in Jadavpur area which falls under the city police’s South Suburban Division.
The five-judge bench also comprising justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar adjourned hearing of the PILs alleging post-poll violence in West Bengal till July 22. A bunch of PILs filed before the high court had alleged displacement of people from their residences, physical assault, destruction of property and ransacking of places of business owing to post-poll violence in the state.
The high court had on June 18 directed the NHRC chairperson to constitute a committee to examine all cases with regard to alleged human rights violations in post-poll violence in West Bengal.