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BREAKING: Calcutta High Court Directs IPS Officer Damayanti Sen To Oversee Probe In Namkhana Rape Case Of WB

Aaratrika Bhaumik
22 April 2022 7:40 AM GMT
BREAKING: Calcutta High Court Directs IPS Officer Damayanti Sen To Oversee Probe In Namkhana Rape Case Of WB
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The Calcutta High Court on Friday asked IPS officer Damayanti Sen to oversee the probe in the Namkhana rape case wherein a 40-year-old woman was reportedly gang-raped on April 8 by five men in West Bengal's Namkhana village and an attempt had also been made to pour kerosene inside the victim's private parts and set her ablaze.IPS officer Damayanti Sen, now the special commissioner of...

The Calcutta High Court on Friday asked IPS officer Damayanti Sen to oversee the probe in the Namkhana rape case wherein a 40-year-old woman was reportedly gang-raped on April 8 by five men in West Bengal's Namkhana village and an attempt had also been made to pour kerosene inside the victim's private parts and set her ablaze.

IPS officer Damayanti Sen, now the special commissioner of Calcutta police, was the intelligence chief of the Calcutta police during the Park Street gang-rape case that took place a decade ago. She was the investigating officer of the incident which took place just a year after Mamata Banerjee became the Chief Minister of Bengal for the first time. The Chief Minister had reportedly commented that this case was a "doctored incident" and also a "chotto ghotona" (minor incident). Immediately after the investigation, the Bengal government had transferred IPS Sen. 

The Court had earlier also directed the IPS officer to supervise the investigation of 4 other recent rape cases in Deganga, Matia, Ingrejbazar and Banshdroni villages of West Bengal.  The direction was issued while adjudicating upon two Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petitions seeking a CBI probe into the rape case.

The Court on the last date of hearing had directed the State government to produce a report relating to the status of investigation into the cases and also the case diary on the next date of hearing.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakasha Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj on Friday took on record the status report as well as the case diary pertaining to the investigation into the rape case. 

Pursuant to the perusal of the case diary and also the status report, the Court directed, 

"Having examined the case diary and considering the report in the form of the affidavit and also taking note of the allegations made and progress of investigation, we deem it proper that investigation in this case be carried out under the supervision of Damyanti Sen, Special Commissioner of Police."

The Court however observed that in case the IPS officer has any difficulty in supervising the investigation, she will be at liberty to intimate the same to the Court on the next date of hearing. The Court also directed the State government to submit a further status report on the next date of hearing which is slated to take place on May 2.

The Court noted that the record shows that the concerned medical officer had found burn injuries on the body of the victim. Furthermore, the Court underscored that it has not rejected the prayer of the petitioners for a CBI probe and that in case it is found that the investigation is not being carried out in an impartial manner, the prayer for a CBI probe would be considered at a belated stage. It was further directed that the concerned authorities must extend full protection to the victim, her family members and other witnesses. 

During the proceedings, the petitioner alleged that the investigation into the case is not being done properly and that the kerosene jar has not yet been seized. It was further contended that the statements of the neighbours who had heard the cries of the victim have not been recorded by the police authorities. The Court was also apprised that mo offence under Section 307 of the IPC (rape) has been registered and that the place of occurrence has not been sealed by the authorities. The petitioner further averred that the local police officers had been intimidating the husband of the victim and also other witnesses. 

On the contrary, Advocate General S.N Mookherjee apprised the Court that initially an offence was registered on April 9 on the basis of the compliant filed. Thereafter, on receipt of information that rape had been committed, the police authorities had registered a case under Section 376(D) of the IPC on April 11. He further submitted that the statement of the victim under Section 164 of the CrPC and the statements of the witnesses under Section 161 of the CrPC have been recorded. The Advocate General further submitted that the main accused has been arrested and the medico-legal examinations of both the accused and the victim have been done. 

The matter is slated to be heard next on May 2

Case Title: Pallabi Chatterjee and Ors v. State of West Bengal and other connected matters

Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 137 

Click Here To Read/Download Order 


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