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Gujarat encounter probe in right direction: SC
May 15, 2007 19:49 IST
Holding that investigations being conducted by the Gujarat government were proceeding in the right direction, the Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved for Thursday its order on the plea for a CBI probe into the fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi.
A Bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and P K Balasubramanyan said it would pass appropriate orders on Thursday, but asked the Centre whether it was advisable to order a CBI probe at this juncture.
"It appears the investigation has been set afoot and is going in an apparently correct direction. Is it advisable to take it out and entrust it to the CBI?" the Bench asked Attorney General Milon K Banerjee.
The bench further said, "The investigation is going on reasonably and vigorously. We will like to have your views."
The apex court made the observation while dealing with the arguments of Banerjee who submitted that the investigations should be entrusted to an independent investigating agency or the CBI as police personnel from Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan were also allegedly involved in the fake encounters.
Quoting newspaper reports, Banerjee said the Gujarat police was not being extended proper cooperation by one of the state governments and as such the probe should be entrusted to the CBI or some other independent investigating agency.
The attorney general contended that the Gujarat government cannot be expected to deal with the investigations in a fair manner as several important evidence relating to the killings had been destroyed and a key eyewitness (Tulsiram Prajapati) had been eliminated.
"So you want both? But we can't have both," the apex court remarked, when Hafeez Ahmed, counsel for Rubabuddin Sheikh, brother of the deceased, argued that the CBI should take up the investigation and DIG Rajnish Rai, who has been removed from the investigation, should be reinducted.
The court also clarified that it did not in any manner direct the Gujarat government to re-induct Geeta Johri to head the investigation.
"We only asked why she has been removed. Because it was suggested by Gopal Subramaniam (additional solicitor general)," the Bench said after Ahmed complained that the apex court's poser on Geeta Johri's transfer was used by the Gujarat government to remove Rai from the investigation and bring back the former.
Arguing that the CBI should step in, Ahmed pleaded that Rai should be brought back into the investigation under the supervision of Geeta Johri.
It was then that the Bench remarked that the plea for a CBI inquiry and reinduction of Rai cannot go together.
The Bench appeared to be disinclined to the suggestion of the attorney general who wanted the apex court to monitor the entire investigations. "Is this our business? We have other work to do," the Bench said.