The CBI has filed two separate charge sheets in the killing of TMC leader Bhadu Sheikh and the arson allegedly triggered by it in which 10 people were burnt to death in Bogtui village of West Bengal's Birbhum district on 21 March, officials said on Monday, 20 July.
The CBI has named four persons as accused in its charge sheet filed in the murder of Bhadu Sheikh whereas 18 people, including TMC leader Anarul Hussain and two juveniles, have been named in the arson case, they said.
Ten people, including women and children, were burnt to death on the night of 21 March when their houses in Bogtui village were fire-bombed by a mob in retaliation to the killing of TMC leader Bhadu Sheikh in a crude bomb attack that evening.
Bhadu Sheikh's Loyalists Went On a Rampage in the Village
"On 21 March, 2022 while the complainant was having tea at a shop in Bogtui 'More' around 8.30 pm, his brother Bhadu Sheikh (a deputy pradhan of the Barsal gram panchayat) was speaking over the phone sitting on a motorcycle. It was alleged that the accused threw bomb targeting the head of his brother (Bhadu Sheikh) and on being hit on his head, his brother fell on the ground," CBI spokesperson R C Joshi said.
It was also alleged that they kept throwing more bombs aiming at Bhadu Sheikh, he said.
The agency has named Palash Khan alias Faizul Khan, Sanju Sheikh alias Nur Islam Seikh, Safi Seikh alias Safizul Seikh and Mahi Seikh alias Mahirul Seikh in the charge sheet related to the murder.
The CBI had taken over the investigation of the case, following an order of the Calcutta High Court.
In its charge sheet related to Bogtui violence and arson, the federal probe agency has alleged that it was a "direct fallout" of the killing of Bhadu Sheikh.
It has been alleged that after Bhadu Sheikh was killed, his loyalists and group members – armed with sharp weapons, crude bombs and country-made firearms went on a rampage burning the houses of rivals in the village.
Rivalry For Dominance in the Area
The CBI has alleged that rivalry was among groups of Bhadu Sheikh and Palash Sheikh and Sona Sheikh for dominance in the area and control over the income from illegal collection of money from commercial vehicles and other unlawful activities had existed for a long time.
It has been alleged that followers of Sheikh ransacked the houses of rival groups in Bogtui and set them ablaze intending to kill the people inside and family, Joshi said.
Seven persons were charred to death while four were grievously injured and three died during treatment, they said.
The bodies were burnt to such an extent that their identities could not be ascertained except by DNA sampling. The CBI rushed CFSL experts to Rampurhat immediately after taking over the investigation.
"Vital physical and biological evidence was collected by the CFSL team. The bodies recovered were completely charred and beyond recognition. The biological samples of the victims as preserved during post-mortem along with blood samples of their probable direct relatives were sent for DNA profiling," Joshi said.
The identities of the deceased were established through DNA sampling.
"In the initial stage of the investigation, the village was almost deserted and no witness was forthcoming due to fear. Many witnesses had taken shelter in other villages. After sustained efforts, several witnesses came forward and their statements were recorded," Joshi said.
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)