The Calcutta High Court Wednesday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which pleaded for the appointment of a sitting judge under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, to probe into the unnatural death of Bara Lalon Sheikh, in the custody of Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI), the premier investigating agency of India. Sheikh, the prime accused in the March 21 Bogtui carnage case, died in CBI custody on December 12 2022, eight days after his arrest.The plea contended that independent inquiry by a sitting judge of the court is necessary as there is a conflict between the Crime Investigation Department (CID), a branch of the State Police Services of India, and the CBI. The petitioner argued that the State investigating agency was tampering with the evidence of the case and even implicated the CBI officers. It was argued that the investigation should be done by the CBI officers not involved in the incident.The counsel appearing for the CBI countered the petition informing the court that the matter was already being inquired by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) after a complaint was made and the petition is merely harassing the CBI officers. It was also submitted that the death of the accused was a case of suicide in custody and the case has been filed “maliciously” as an attempt to obstruct the investigation.The court, while dismissing the appeal stated,“…the appointment of sitting Judges as President, Chairman, Vice-Chairman, member, etc. of the Commission by observing that if a sitting Judge is appointed, considerable time is lost and Judge would not be in a position to attend to his regular judicial work and that given the mounting arrear of cases in superior courts, it would be difficult to lend services of Judges for such Commission work….”On March 22 2022, an incident of arson and bomb blast had taken place at the village Bogtui in West Bengal in which eight people were charred to death. The carnage was seen as a retaliation by the supporters of the panchayat deputy head who was killed by bike-borne miscreants a few hours prior. The court in its order had handed over the investigation to the CBI.

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