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CBI takes over probe into death of bizman's wife

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The CBI has taken over investigation into the nearly two-year-old mysterious death of a Raniganj-based businessman's wife on the orders of Calcutta High Court, officials said on Thursday.

Pushpa Bhalotia (39) was admitted with burn injuries in a hospital in Durgapur, West Bengal where she had succumbed to her injuries on October 5, 2017.

As the post mortem report showed a bullet injury in her head, her husband Manoj Bhalotia was arrested.

The CBI was roped in by the High Court after a petition was filed by Pushpa's brother Gopal Kumar Agarwal claiming that there were differences between findings of autopsy report and charge sheet filed by the police.

While Manoj's family claimed that Pushpa committed suicide by setting herself on fire, Agarwal told the court that the post mortem report had said that the burn injuries were prior to the gun shot injury while the charge sheet claimed that the victim died of gun shot and the burn injuries were subsequent.

He said that there were several CCTV records available with police which were not considered by the investigators before filing their final report in the matter.

Seeking the CBI investigation into the death of his sister, he dismissed the claims of the charge sheet that Pushpa had shot herself.

The High Court found the arguments convincing and handed over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation on February 7, 2019.

Pointing loopholes in the theory of police, the court noted that without considering the CCTV footage which was available with the investigating agency, it should not have inferred that the death was suicidal in nature and not a homicide.

"The charge sheet as it stands today raises more questions than answers. The charge sheet explains the death as a suicide. It takes a view that, the gun shot was prior in point of time than burn injuries. The burn injuries were sustained by the victim due to ignition of the cooking gas from the spark of the gun shot," it said.

The court said the post-mortem report, however, states that the burn injuries were prior to the gun shots.

"The burn injuries are on the selective parts of the bodies and are limited to the limbs. An accidental fire caused by leakage of cooking gas is likely to affect the entire body rather than be selective in its area of affection ," it said.

The high court said the charge sheet does not explain how the victim could obtain the knowledge and expertise of firing the revolver which needs to be loaded with the safety catch cocked for it to fire.

"These aspects remain sketchy at best. The charge sheet as it stands does not instill much confidence. The investigation did not proceed in a proper direction," the court held directing the CBI to take over the probe.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 27 2019. 15:30 IST
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