Plea before SC seeks SIT probe into Sandeshkhali sting video

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"Statements in the YouTube Video reveal a shocking turn of events and this Hon’ble Court ought to issue directions for constitution of a Special Investigation Team (“SIT”) which shall carry out a court monitored independent forensic investigation of the audio and video in question", the court has been told

An application has been filed before Supreme Court of India seeking a court-monitored probe into the Sandeshkhali incidents recorded on a recent sting video.

The application has been filed in the pending West Bengal government's plea questioning correctness of April 10 order by the Calcutta High Court's division bench for transfer of probe into charges of mass sexual exploitation of women and land grab against ruling TMC leader, now suspended, Sheikh Shahjahan and others in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas.

Allegedly, the video reveals that the rape charges against Sheikh were false and the people of Sandeshkhali had acted upon instructions of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari to obstruct the TMC leaders and put them in bad light.

Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy mentioned the application before a bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta which said the request for listing shall be considered.

The application has been filed to ascertain the on-ground situation and in view of the sensitivity of the issue at hand, it has been prayed that a Special Investigation Team be constituted to conduct an independent investigation which shall be monitored by the Supreme Court.

Recently, while hearing the main special leave petition filed by West Bengal, court had questioned the state, "Why has state filed an SLP against CBI looking into a private person..?".

In a special leave petition, the Mamata Banerjee government claimed the High Court failed to consider the underlying political motive behind multiple PILs before it. The order would overburden the CBI with frivolous complaints and further denude the actual victims of a reasonable opportunity to file a complaint, it contended.

The state government also claimed the High Court completely ignored the extensive efforts taken by the state police in the matter.

It states nearly 43 FIRs have been registered and the earliest of which was registered four years ago and the last FIR was registered on February 10, 2024. Further out of the 43 FIRs, in 42 cases chargesheets have been laid under various penal sections including Section 376 IPC. The High Court also noted that in seven cases of land grabbing charge sheets have been filed on February 08, 2024, apart from 24 cases of land grabbing having been registered by the State Police.

"The Division Bench, in its haste in painting the entire State Machinery as biased and in cohoots with the ruling dispensation, completely ignored the material placed before it indicating the measures taken by the State Govt./State Police in the investigation," the plea said.

The state government also said the High Court has directed the CBI to investigate the allegations of sexual violence and land grabbing in Sandeshkhali, solely on the basis that the CBI is already investigating the purported attack on the ED officials in Sandeshkhali while arresting accused Sahajahan.