The Tripura High Court on Wednesday ordered the state government to submit the chargesheet and other documents relevant to the investigation into the killing of television journalist Santanu Bhowmik.
Bhowmik was hacked to death on September 20 at Mandai in West Tripura district, 28 km from the state capital. He had gone there to cover a demonstration of the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), a political party representing the tribals.
The father of the slain journalist, Sadhan Bhowmik, had filed a petition in the high court, seeking a CBI probe into his son's killing.
Public Prosecutor Subrata Sarkar said the court had ordered for the submission of chargesheet and other relevant documents on or before January 24.
The Tripura government had formed a special investigation team (SIT), headed by an inspector general of the state police, to look into the incident. The SIT had submitted the chargesheet before the chief judicial magistrate's court on December 12.
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The petitioner's lawyer, Samrat Kar Bhowmik, said the submission of the chargesheet would not be an impediment for the court to order re-opening of the case by another investigation agency, if it was prima facie found that the SIT probe was tainted.
"A tainted investigation can only lead to a tainted judgment," he submitted before a bench of Chief Justice T Vaiphei and Justice Subhashish Talapatra.
The court had earlier issued notice to the state government, Government of India and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), asking for their opinions on a CBI probe into the killing of Bhowmik, who was a reporter of a local TV channel, 'Din Raat'.
Assistant Solicitor General of India Himangshu Deb pleaded for more time for the Centre to submit its reply in the case. The CBI counsel sought two weeks' time from the court to study the relevant documents and affidavits.
The IPFT had accused the ruling CPI(M) in the state of hatching a conspiracy to implicate it in the journalist's killing and tarnish its image ahead of the state Assembly polls, due early next year.
It had also claimed that the Left party was nervous after over 5,000 tribals deserted it to join the IPFT.