Kolkata, March 22: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday sought to defend the administration’s inability to ensure speedy trial of pending rape cases, saying it was not in her purview when a court will give a verdict.
“Some people are saying Bengal cannot do what Maharashtra can do. I want to say it is wrong. It’s a lie. I would have no problems if facts were reported, but what has been reported is misleading,” Banerjee told mediapersons here.
She was reacting to a media report about the pendency of several high-profile rape incidents, including the Park Street, Kamduni and Madhyamgram cases when a court in Mumbai convicted rapists in two cases within seven months of those taking place.
“What can we do if the family members move to a higher court or roam around going to different courts or to the President? When a court will give judgment, it’s not in my purview,” said Banerjee referring to the family members of a rape and murder victim in Kamduni in North 24 Parganas district, who met President Pranab Mukherjee seeking death penalty for the culprits.
Incidentally, during a visit to the victim’s family shortly after the incident, Banerjee had claimed the perpetrators would be handed death penalty within a month.
The victim — a second year college student — was abducted, raped and killed by a group of youth June 7, 2013 when she was returning home after appearing in an examination in Barasat in the district.
The Park Street incident involved the alleged sexual assault on an Anglo-Indian woman in a moving car in the early hours Feb 6, 2012. Following the Mumbai verdict, the victim who earlier revealed her identity is hoping to get justice soon.
The Madhyamgram incident in North 24 Parganas occurred in October 2013. A minor girl was allegedly raped twice. She died Dec 31 last year but not before claimimg she was set on fire by perpetrators of the crime.
Reacting to the development, leader of the opposition and CPI-M politburo member Surjya Kanta Mishra flayed Banerjee for her “false promises”.
“She is talking about judicial reforms and setting up fast track courts but cannot see how these women are still waiting for justice,” said Mishra.