Haldia Dock Extortion Case: Calcutta HC Orders CBI Probe, Rejects State Plea for SIT Probe


Mitali Palnitkar

Published On: February 22, 2022 at 18:30 IST

On February 21, the Calcutta High Court ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into the alleged extortion of truckers at Haldia Port.

The ongoing Investigation by the State Police was put on a Stay by the Court. It also rejected the State’s Plea to allow the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be entrusted with the investigation.

Justice Rajasekhar Mantha observed that the ‘Case should be transferred to CBI as the investigation was being carried out in a perfunctory manner which could erode the faith of the public.’

The CBI was directed to collect the Case materials from the Haldia Police and commence the investigation but ordered it not to file the final report without the leave of the Court.

The Court relied on the Apex Court’s decisions in the State of West Bengal vs Committee for the protection of Democratic Rights, Mithilesh Kumar Singh vs The State of Rajasthan and Pooja Pal vs Union of India to contend the need for transfer of Case from Haldia Police to CBI.

The Court rejected the request for SIT Probe. It opined that “Syndicates” have a stranglehold on most businesses and commerce in the State.

In July 2021, an Extortion Case was registered by Complainant Mobarak Ali at Haldia against principal Accused Shyamal Adak and co-accused Rajib Paul.

Ali alleged that in 2018, Adak used to collect Rs 100 per truck by extortion for allowing loading of coal at Haldia Dock Complex. The Petitioner refused to pay, due to which he was not allowed to load his truck with coal. Eventually, it affected his transport business due to pressure and intimidation by Adak.

First Information Report was registered two and a half years after the incident. Petitioner applied for Bail which was allowed but later on it was cancelled citing that ‘Petitioner threatened the witnesses.’ Adak filed Writ Petition before the Court.

The Court observed an inordinate delay by the State Police in lodging FIR which questions the motive behind the investigation. It noted that a Notice was not issued to the Petitioner under Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code which violates the Supreme Court’s Judgment in Arnesh Kumar vs the State of Bihar.

It noted that Accused was not interrogated for 7 months and the sudden need for interrogation was suspiciously vague. It stated, “The IO and ACJM have reduced the investigation to a mockery.”

The Court ordered to release Petitioner from custody on condition that he should not leave Haldia without the leave of the Court. It was directed to file an Affidavit in opposition within 4 weeks. The matter will be heard in the next 6 weeks.

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