Kolkata, Jan 24: A day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee removed a senior police officer when the department failed to seek custody of the men who allegedly gang raped a tribal woman in Birbhum district, the 13 accused were Friday sent to 13 days’ police custody by a court here.
“The court remanded the accused in 13 days’ police custody, they will again be presented before the court Feb 6,” said police prosecutor Firoze K.Pal.
The Bolpur sub-divisional court Thursday remanded the 13 accused to 14 days’ judicial custody, after “neither any public prosecutor appeared nor did the police seek custody of the accused”.
Regarding the prosecution’s failure to seek the custody of the accused, Pal said the police were busy ensuring the medical treatment for the victim who was in a critical condition.
“The investigating officer was too engrossed in ensuring medical attention to the victim which hampered arrangements of documents necessary to be produced before the court,” he said.
Later, amid widespread outrage over the brutal gang rape, the chief minister ordered the removal of Birbhum Superintendent of Police C. Sudhakar.
The gruesome incident which has attracted widespread condemnation, took place Monday night in Subalpur village in Birbhum district, 180 km from Kolkata.
The 20-year-old tribal woman was allegedly violated by more than a dozen men on orders of a kangaroo court which found her “guilty of having an affair with a man outside her community”.
“I lost count of how many times I was raped,” said the woman, now recuperating in a hospital.
The Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government, already under attack by the opposition over the issue, received further jolt after the Supreme Court Friday took suo motu cognizance of the matter and described it as “very disturbing”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam issued notice to the Banerjee government and directed the Birbhum district magistrate to inquire into the matter and submit report in one week.
The national and the state women’s rights panels too have taken cognizance of the matter.