In a major setback for the West Bengal government, the Calcutta High Court on Monday pulled up the state police and refused to accept the investigation report submitted by them on an alleged Cyclone Amphan relief scam. The court has asked the police as to why no action was taken against those named in the FIR and directed the police to file the report again on September 27.
While hearing the ‘malpractices over handling of relief material during Cyclone Amphan’ case, based on some pleas, acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, Rajesh Bindal, observed that the investigation report submitted by the Basirhat Police is “incomplete” and lacks measures taken against those named in the scam during the probe.
Calling the report submitted by the West Bengal Police an “eyewash”, the Justice observed, “It is a matter related to corruption with relief materials…It is expected that relief should reach the people quickly after such a big natural disaster. What action have the police taken against the accused? These reports are for an eyewash only.”
Welcoming the court’s order, BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said, “Politicisation of police is nothing new in Bengal. Not only in this report, in every report where ruling party leaders are involved, the police don’t take action. I am very happy that the court did not accept the police report and hope those involved in the malpractice will be soon punished.”
Tapas Roy, the Deputy Chief Whip of TMC in the West Bengal assembly, refused to make any comment into this matter and said, “This is a court matter and it won’t be good to make any comment.”
Last year, the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government had dispatched relief material worth crores of rupees in five trucks to Basirhat in North 24-Parganas. However, the cyclone-affected people alleged that the relief material was stored in the house of a person, who is believed to be close to a local panchayat leader in Malatipur, instead of reaching them.
After massive protests by the local people, the district police started the investigation and seized all the relief materials. The cops also named some people in FIR.
On January 20 this year, the Calcutta High Court had rejected a petition filed by the West Bengal government that had sought withdrawal of its judgment directing the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to audit irregularities during the distribution of Cyclone Amphan relief material.
Then, the division bench comprising Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee refused to entertain the petition and directed the CAG to complete the process of audit at the earliest.
BJP MP Arjun Singh had tweeted, “Satyamev Jayate! On my PIL, the Honorable Calcutta High Court has ordered for CAG enquiry into the alleged irregularities in distribution of Relief Fund to Amphan victims. The cut money culture, corruption of TMC govt and its leaders will be exposed. Truth will prevail always”.