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Manjulla Chellur to head SIT probing post-poll violence

Cul HC

Ashok Chatterjee

Kolkata: A day after forming the SIT to probe post-poll violence in West Bengal, on Friday, the Calcutta High Court appointed former chief Justice of Calcutta High court Manjulla Chellur as the head of the special Investigation team.

This was done as a retired Justice of the Supreme Court was not available for the probe.

A 5-judge bench comprising acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justice I P Mukerji, Justice Harish Tandon, Justice Soumen Sen and Justice Subrata Talukdar informed Justice Manjula Chellur would monitor the functioning of the constituted SIT pursuant to its earlier order.

According to Live Law, the order read: "On account of immediate non-availability of a retired Hon'ble Supreme Court Judge to take up the assignment, we deem it appropriate to modify the aforesaid part of the order,” adding that the working of the SIT is to be monitored by a retired Chief Justice of a high court.

Chellur was the first woman chief justice of Calcutta High Court appointed in August 2014, and then retired as the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court in December 2017.

As the chief justice of the Bombay High Court in 2017, Justice Manjula Chellur had famously caused a furore when she told protesting Maharashtra doctors that they were “not factory workers” and if they were so scared of being beaten up they should resign and stay home. Doctors had gone on strike following a growing number of assault incidents against them and were demanding safer working conditions.

Notably, on August 19, Calcutta High Court had directed the SIT to probe all the matters against the murder and atrocities against women in West Bengal. The high court had also formed a three-member committee of SIT comprising commissioner of Kolkata Police Soumen Mitra, IPS Sumanbala Sahoo and Ranbir Kumar.

On Thursday the state government had appointed 10 IPS officers to assist the SIT with the officers being deployed in south, west, north as well as for Kolkata Police areas.

Meanwhile, the CBI on Saturday arrested one Ratan Haldar in connection with the death of 80-year-old Sobha Rani Mondal, mother of a BJP cadre.

The CBI had also called a constable for quizzing in connection to the death of BJP cadre Abhijit Sarkar.

Notably, the central agency has already registered 34 cases so far in connection with post-poll violence related allegations of murder and rape.