The top court’s observation came after petitioner Gaurav Bhatia, a lawyer, told a bench of justices A K Sikri, S A Nazeer and M R Shah that three workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were killed in West Bengal last year and the police had filed a closure report in one of the cases, stating that it was a suicide.
“Much is happening in West Bengal also”, the bench observed.
Appearing for the West Bengal government, senior advocate Kapil Sibal replied, “Much is happening in the CBI also…. And all of this (Bhatia’s petition) is indeed politics.”
He said the apex court should not go into the facts of the case, which was the job of the trial court.
The court asked Bhatia, also a BJP leader, whether the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could probe cases in West Bengal, considering that the state government had withdrawn consent to the central probe agency’s jurisdiction within its territory like the Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh governments.
Sibal, however, said the top court should not decide the case on facts.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on February 21.
Referring to the “brutal killings” — the body of one of the BJP workers was found hanging from a high-tension electric pole — the petition said it was an example of the violence meted out by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal to its political rivals.
Bhatia alleged that the state police was pressured by the state government, adding that in one of the cases, there was an inordinate delay in lodging the FIR, which was registered 18 days after the incident.
The petition alleged that family members of the victims were being threatened and FIRs were also lodged in this regard.
It demanded a CBI probe into the killings and alleged that the family members of the three slain BJP workers — Shaktipada Sarkar, Trilochan Mahato and Dulal Kumar — were being threatened.
Bhatia also demanded a Rs 50-lakh compensation and security cover for the family members of the victims.
Earlier, the apex court had refused to grant an urgent hearing on the plea seeking a CBI probe into the killings of BJP workers in Purulia and South 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal after last year’s panchayat polls.
Shaktipada Sarkar, a BJP block president in the Mandirbazar-Dhanurhat area, was hacked to death when he was returning home in South 24 Parganas district on July 28 last year.
The body of 32-year-old Dulal Kumar, a BJP worker, was found hanging from an electric pole in Purulia district’s Balarampur on June 2 last year.
On May 30 last year, the body of 18-year-old Trilochan Mahato, also a BJP worker from Balarampur, was found hanging from a tree with a poster written in Bengali struck on his back, saying he was killed for canvassing for the saffron party during the rural polls.