By PTI

NEW DELHI: The CBI has formed four teams headed by a joint director each to investigate cases of rape, murder and crime against women during post-poll violence in West Bengal, officials said on Thursday.

The overall probe will be monitored by an officer of the additional director rank, sources said.

Each team will have seven members, including a deputy inspector general and three superintendents of police from across the country, they added.

The move by the central agency comes hours after the Calcutta High Court ordered a CBI inquiry into alleged killings, rape and crime against women during post-poll violence in West Bengal.

A five-judge bench, while pronouncing a unanimous verdict on a batch of PILs seeking an independent probe into the incidents of alleged violence after the state Assembly polls held earlier this year, also ordered the formation of an SIT to investigate all other cases.

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) won the West Bengal Assembly polls by an overwhelming majority, The SIT will include Suman Bala Sahoo, Soumen Mitra and Ranveer Kumar, all IPS officers of the West Bengal cadre.

The bench will monitor the investigations by both the CBI and the SIT.

The court has asked the two agencies to submit status reports to it within six weeks.

It said the working of the SIT will be overseen by a retired Supreme Court judge, for which a separate order will be passed after obtaining his or her consent.

The bench said heinous crimes such as murder and rape “deserve to be investigated by an independent agency, which in the circumstances can only be the Central Bureau of Investigation”.

It said the State failed to register FIRs even in some cases of alleged murder.

“Rather the violence which erupted after the polls and the declaration of results was statewide. A number of persons died. Women were raped. The houses of certain persons who had not supported the party in power were demolished. Their other properties were damaged. Their belongings were looted, including the chattels,” the court observed.

It said there are allegations that the complainants are being threatened to withdraw the cases and a number of cases of murder are being claimed as natural deaths without recording FIRs and conducting an investigation according to the procedure established by law.

Noting that the West Bengal police has not properly responded to allegations of inaction and tried to downplay those, the bench said, “It certainly needs investigation by an independent agency.”

It said three months have lapsed since the matter was taken up by the court, but “no concrete action has been taken by the State, which could inspire confidence, except filing affidavits and placing on record thousands of papers”.

The bench ordered the West Bengal government to pay compensation to the victims in accordance with the policy of the state after due verification.

The compensation amount will be directly transferred to their bank accounts.

A committee of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had submitted its final report in the matter to the court on July 13.