In a major mobilisation, the CBI on Wednesday deputed 53 officers, including 29 women, drawn from its units across the country to probe Manipur violence cases, officials said.
The team which includes three DIGs – Lovely Katiyar, Nirmala Devi and Mohit Gupta – and Superintendent of Police Rajveer will report to Joint Director Ghanshyam Upadhyay who will supervise the overall probe, they said.
It is understood to be first of its kind mobilisation where such a large number of women officers have been simultaneously pressed into service, they said.
Sources said that several of these 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.
Two Additional Superintendents of Police and six Deputy Superintendents of Police – all women – are also part of the 53-member force, they said.
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, they said.
Besides 16 inspectors and 10 sub-inspectors will also be part of the team, they said.
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, officials said.
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 said.
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 Manipur violence, which will take the total number of cases probed by the agency to 17, officials have said.
Officials in the know of developments said the probe by the central agency would not be limited to these 17 cases. 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.
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.
The central probe agency will transfer all forensic samples to its Central Forensic Science Laboratory based in the national capital.
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 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.