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May 17, 2018

Agartala:┬áTripura High Court on Wednesday ordered the CBI to inform it about its “status” on the state government’s request to investigate television journalist Santanu Bhowmik’s murder within July 4.

Bhowmik was killed on September 20 last year while covering political protests at Mandai, 25km from Agartala. Santanu’s father Sadhan Bhowmik filed a petition with the high court, seeking a CBI probe into his son’s murder.

A high court division bench of Chief Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Arindam Lodh heard the case on Wednesday and issued a notice to the CBI, state government and the Centre to inform the court about the status of the request on conducting the investigation.

Sadhan’s counsel Samrat Kar Bhowmik told this correspondent that the plea for inquiry had been communicated to the CBI through a notification on March 17.

In the notification, governor Tathagata Roy gave his consent to extend Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment ((DSPE) Act, 1946, in Tripura in so far as the investigation of Santanu’s case by the CBI is concerned.

The legal powers of investigation of the CBI are derived from the DSPE Act.

However, CBI counsel Prabir Saha claimed the investigation agency did not have any such information.

Saha, in an affidavit on January 24 this year, had expressed the CBI’s inability to take over the case, claiming that investigation was over and chargesheet had already been filed by a special investigation team formed by the state government.

He also claimed that the journalist’s murder had “no inter-state or international ramification necessitating CBI investigation” and that there was “severe constraint of resources at the disposal of CBI”.

On the issue, Kar Bhowmik, who appeared on behalf of Sadhan, said, “I submitted to the court to keep the case alive since it is not sure till date if the case will be investigated by the CBI or not. A previous state government affidavit had also vehemently objected CBI investigation. I have appealed that the murdered journalist’s father deserves justice”.

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