53-member CBI team to probe Manipur Violence casestext_fields
New Delhi: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday, deputed 53 officers including 29 women to probe Manipur violence cases, officials said.
The team members, drawn from CBI units across the country, include three DIGs Lovely Katiyar, Nirmala Devi and Mohit Gupta, and Superintendent of Police Rajveer. The team will report to Joint Director Ghanshyam Upadhyay who will supervise the overall probe.
Two Additional Superintendents of Police and six Deputy Superintendents of Police - all women - are also part of the 53-member force, they said, adding that 16 inspectors and 10 sub-inspectors will also be part of the team.
It is understood to be first of its kind mobilisation where such a large number of women officers have been simultaneously pressed into service, officials said.
According to officials, several of the cases being probed by the CBI may attract provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which can be probed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police rank officer. Since the Deputy Superintendents of Police cannot be supervisory officers in such cases, the agency has sent three DIGs and one SP to supervise and monitor the investigations.
Normally when such a large number of cases are handed over to the CBI, the agency depends on the state concerned to provide manpower as well. But in the case of Manipur, they will try to minimise the role of local officers to avoid any allegations of bias in the probe, the officials added.
The agency has already registered eight cases, including the two related to the stripping and parading of women by a mob on May 4, an incident that sparked massive furore after its video appeared on social media on July 16.
The CBI is set to investigate nine more cases related to the violence, which will take the total number of cases probed by the agency to 17, officials said.
The probe by the central agency would not be limited to these 17 cases, and any other case related to crime against women or sexual assault may also be referred to it on priority, they said. According to them, the probe agency is likely to take over one more case of alleged sexual assault in the state's Churachandpur district.
The central probe agency will transfer all forensic samples to its Central Forensic Science Laboratory based in the national capital.
With society divided on ethnic lines, the CBI is facing the critical task of avoiding allegations of bias during the Manipur operation as any involvement of people from one community is likely to result in finger-pointing, the officials said.
More than 160 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in the state on May 3 when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
Meiteis account for about 53 percent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 percent and reside mostly in the hill districts.
With inputs from PTI