Calcutta HC appoints Manjula Chellur as SIT Chair

Kolkata:- The five-member division bench of Calcutta High Court headed by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, who directed the CBI and formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe post poll violence in West Bengal, on Friday appointed former Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court Manjula Chellur as head of the SIT.

Chellur, who apart from Bombay High Court was also the Chief Justice of Calcutta and Kerala High Courts, will not only oversee the investigating process of the three-member SIT but also provide necessary instructions and look into the day-to-day activities.

Though the five-member bench had earlier announced that a retired judge of the Supreme Court will work as the head of SIT, but as there was no retired apex court judge available so Chellur was appointed.

The decision to appoint Chellur came a day after the state government deployed 10 IPS officers mostly of the rank of ADG, IG and DIG to assist the three-member SIT team.

The team included Kolkata Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra, DG (Telecommunication) Suman Bala Sahoo and ADG (Admin-I) Ravir Kumar.

On August 19, the five-judge bench ordered the constitution of the SIT to look into the allegations other than murder and sexual assault.

The High Court had said the working of the SIT will be “overviewed by a retired Hon’ble Judge of Hon’ble Supreme Court, for which separate order shall be passed after taking his/her consent”.

On Tuesday, however, the Court observed that it was aware that the SIT was not functioning and added that required steps would be taken.

In the order, the Court had directed both the CBI and the SIT to file a status report to it within six weeks.

There was a delay of almost a fortnight to create the SIT team, despite Sahoo writing to the government about the Calcutta High Court order.

The state government set up the team just before it has decided to move the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Immediately after that, the state government appointed 10 IPS officers and asked them to assist SIT in the investigation process.

The SIT has divided the state into five zones – Headquarters, North zone, South Zone, West Zone and Kolkata police.

Two IPS officers will be dedicatedly working for each zone.

Sources in the state Home Department said that each IPS officer will form their own team and look into the specific complaints and report it to SIT within a specific time.

On the other hand, the CBI has already started its work.

The investigating agency, which is supposed to file a status report on post-poll violence investigation of grave nature in six weeks, has registered 38 cases so far.

The four joint directors of the CBI have visited Nandigram, Cooch Behar, Nadia, and parts of North 24 Parganas.