Tuesday 24 May 2022
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CBI grilling police, fire service to get to bottom of Birbhum carnage

trying to ascertain if the fire brigade and the police had special instructions from their higher-ups to not dig deep and rather botch up the case

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has found out that the fire department at Rampurhat in Village Bogtui did not quite follow the standard operating procedure wherein a thorough search is supposed to be carried out on the spot of the crime after the fire is extinguished or brought under complete control. The complete details of the incident of arson were recorded in the local police station.

While the fire brigade can leave the scene only after submitting the overall details to the police station, that was not the protocol the department followed on 21 March in Village Bogtui of Rampurhat. This is why, CBI sources say, seven bodies were found from the rubble and ashes the next morning rather than on the very night of the carnage.

According to the CBI sources, the fire brigade had left the area that night before the stipulated and the police left at about the same time too. The central agency is now trying to ascertain if the fire brigade and the police had special instructions from their higher-ups to not dig deep and rather botch up the case.

The CBI is questioning police officers as well as officials of the local fire brigade to crack the case of retaliatory violence after the of Trinamool Congress’s local village deputy chief Bhadu Sheikh.

Meanwhile, central forensic are collecting samples from the spot of the crime while the CBI is recording the statements of the eyewitnesses, with the two wings of the union government probing the case from different angles.

On the morning of 22 March, seven burnt bodies were recovered from a house in Bogtui. According to the CBI, the news of the fire reached some houses in the village at Rampurhat fire station around 10:30 PM on 21 March. Firefighters arrived at the scene around 11:30 PM. They rescued several people from different burning houses and sent them to the hospital. After that, they left the scene at 2:30 AM — without checking for survivors or corpses under the debris.

According to CBI officials, various sources corroborate the finding that even the district police officers left the disturbed area at about the same time.

CBI investigators are questioning the fire brigade and police officers leaving the area at about the same time. They complained that the area was completely evacuated for several hours after the fire was extinguished. The bodies of seven victims were recovered at 8:30 AM the next day.

Further, the CBI has received complaints that several villagers are still missing after the blaze. CBI officials said that it was being investigated. The agency will question the Birbhum district police chief and Rampurhat police station personnel as well as the concerned firemen next.

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