Calcutta High Court stays WB police probe into ration distribution cases
Order comes against petition filed by ED seeking hand over of all cases of the alleged ration distribution scam to the CBI
The Calcutta High Court on Monday stayed any kind of probe by the West Bengal Police into the ration distribution cases in West Bengal. A single-judge bench of Justice Jay Sengupta ordered the stay while hearing a petition filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), seeking hand over of the probe in all cases relating to alleged multi-crore ration distribution irregularities in West Bengal from the state police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Although the ED and CBI have launched a parallel probe into the matter, six cases are still under the jurisdiction of the state police.
Justice Sengupta said the state police had started the investigation following an FIR lodged at Ballygunge police station in Kolkata in 2019. However, the bench ordered that in case the police are still investigating any ration-distribution related case, it should stop the probe for the time being.
The stay will be in force until 5 March. Justice Sengupta also ordered the state police to submit case diaries relating to all such cases to his bench at the earliest.
On Friday, the bench had said nothing about the ED plea to hand over investigation in all such cases to the CBI. In its plea, the ED argued that despite the state police having filed FIRs in six cases, there had been virtually no progress in the investigation since then, and the state police had taken no action against a single accused.
The central agency also complained that though it has written to the state police regarding the progress of investigation in these cases, there was no reply from the latter, and accused the police of deliberately going slow in the matter owing to the involvement of politically influential people, including members of the state cabinet.
The ED has already arrested state forest minister and former food & supplies minister Jyotipriyo Mallick in connection with the ration distribution case. Two others arrested in connection with the case are Kolkata businessman Bakibur Rahaman and Trinamool Congress leader Shankar Adhya, both known to be close confidants of Mallick.