CBI files first FIR in Sandeshkhali case against 5 for land grab, sexual assault

Calcutta HC asks agency to file a comprehensive report on May 2

Sandeshkhali protest (Fie) Women holding posters stage a protest demanding the arrest of local TMC leaders over Sandeshkhali incident allegations | PTI

The CBI has registered the first case in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali related to the land grab and sexual assault allegations against five influential people in the state, officials said on Thursday.

The case pertains to a land dispute where women of the victim's family had to allegedly face sexual assault from influential people in the area, they said. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has not yet disclosed the identity of the five accused and the victims.

The Calcutta High Court on April 10 had ordered a court-monitored CBI investigation into allegations of crimes against women and land grabbing in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali, saying an "impartial inquiry" was required in the interest of justice and fair play. The CBI had circulated an email ID for people to make complaints in such cases in which a large number of complaints were received.

The agency had dispatched a team to Sandeshkhali to ascertain allegations and proceed with the registration of cases where allegations could be prima facie verified. After preliminary verification during a field visit in the area, the CBI has registered the first FIR in such allegations of land grab and assault on women handed over to it by the Calcutta High Court.

The High Court had also directed the CBI to file a comprehensive report on the alleged illegal conversion of agricultural land into water bodies for pisciculture after conducting a thorough inspection of revenue records and physical inspection of land alleged to have been converted.

The central agency has been tasked to investigate allegations of crimes against women and land grabbing in Sandeshkhali and submit a comprehensive report to it at the next date of hearing on May 2.

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