Bengal post-poll violence: No evidence in 21 out of 39 alleged cases of rape

News Desk: The CBI has, in a report to the Calcutta High Court, said it is investigating 39 cases of alleged rape or attempt to rape during post-poll violence in West Bengal, and has not found any basis in 21 such complaints.

All these allegations were mentioned in a report submitted by a fact-finding committee set up by the National Human Rights Commission.

The NHRC panel was constituted on a direction by a five-judge bench of the high court, which heard a batch of PILs that sought an independent probe into incidents of alleged violence after the 2021 assembly polls.

The ruling TMC won the elections by an overwhelming majority.

The Central Bureau of Investigation was entrusted by the five-judge bench to probe into serious allegations of murder, rape or attempt to rape brought forward by the fact-finding committee.

Of the 52 murder cases, it has already submitted charge sheets in 10 and is probing 38 such alleged incidents, the CBI said in the report, submitted to a division bench headed by Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava on Monday.

It is still verifying claims in two such instances and two other cases have been sent back to a special investigation team of the state police, set up by the five-judge bench to probe other alleged crimes.

FIRs were filed in the 39 cases of alleged rape or attempt to rape during the post-poll violence in the state, the central agency said, adding that it found no basis in 21 such claims and had sent these to the special investigation team.

The CBI also mentioned that it is in the process of verifying allegations of sexual assault in two more cases.

The special investigation team reported to the division bench that it has submitted charge sheets in 573 of 689 cases.

The SIT also stated that it has submitted closure reports in 63 cases after probing the allegations and finding no basis in those, while in the rest, investigations are going on.

The division bench directed the State government to file a report in the form of an affidavit on the return of people who had allegedly been left homeless due to political vendetta by the next date of hearing on January 24.

The five-judge bench headed by the then Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal had on August 19, 2021 ordered the CBI investigation into all allegations of murder and rape or attempt to rape during the post-poll violence in West Bengal and constitution of the SIT comprising three IPS officers of West Bengal cadre to probe all other cases.

The bench had also directed that both the investigations would be monitored by the high court.

It had ordered the West Bengal government to pay compensation to the victims of crimes as per the policy of the state, after due verification.