High Court Orders CBI Probe Into Death Of Bizman’s Wife

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Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court Thursday ordered a CBI probe into the “unnatural death” of a Raniganj-based businessman’s wife, observing that there were differences between the post-mortem report and the state CID’s conclusion on the reason behind her demise.

Justice Debangsu Basak directed the state CID to hand over investigation in the case to the central agency. The victim, 39-year-old Pushpa Bhalotia, was found with burn injuries and was taken to a private hospital in Durgapur where she succumbed to her injuries on October 5, 2017. Her husband Manoj Bhalotia was then arrested in this connection.

Prima facie it is a case of suicide, according to the CID. The port-mortem report had said she could have died of a bullet injury, apart from the burn injuries.

A single bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha had on August 21 last year ordered a CBI probe into the case, but on an appeal by the woman’s husband, the order was overturned by a division bench a week later.

The division bench had directed that the CID will continue its probe and submit a progress report within three months. The CID had placed its report on November 19, following which Bhalotia was granted bail in December.

Stating that the bail order had observed that more investigation was required to be carried out in the case, the woman’s brother moved a fresh petition before the high court seeking an independent probe.

Justice Mantha had in his order directed transfer of the investigation into the unnatural death of Pushpa to the central agency. Justice Mantha had noted that there were glaring gaps in the progress report filed by the CID, which had taken over the investigation from the local police.

It had been claimed by Manoj Bhalotia, a prominent businessman in the mines and commercial town, and his family members that Pushpa had committed suicide by setting herself afire at their residence at Raniganj in West Burdwan district.

The post-mortem report, however, said there was a bullet injury in her forehead which could be the cause of her death, apart from the burn injuries, counsel for the woman’s brother, who had filed a petition in the court seeking a CBI probe into her death, had said.

Questioning as to how she could shoot herself and then set herself afire or vice versa, Pushpa’s brother Gopal Agarwal had filed a murder case against her husband and his family members.