New Delhi, Sept. 11: The Supreme Court, while hearing the Madan Tamang case, told the CBI today to recruit “bravehearts, not timid souls”.
“People expect support and security from the CBI. But in recent times, we have been witnessing that the CBI is saying it is having apprehension about the safety of its personnel. You keep saying that you have apprehension and (are) not getting co-operation. The CBI must recruit only bravehearts not timid souls,” the bench of Justices S.S. Nijjar and Ibrahim Kalifullah told senior counsel for the CBI, Mukul Gupta.
The apex court made the observation while referring to the agency’s plea that it was making every effort to arrest all those involved in the murder of ABGL leader Madan Tamang, but opposed the slain leader’s wife Bharti Tamang’s plea that the case be investigated either by the National Investigating Agency or any other special agency.
On July 15, the apex court had stayed the trial on an the application moved by Bharati alleging that the CBI and the Mamata Banerjee government were shielding the accused for political reasons.
“We have seen your affidavit and it says that you have apprehensions this that and that you are not getting co-operation. We saw similar stance in the Chhattisgarh case (Salwa Judum),” the bench told the CBI.
The apex court was also upset with the conduct of the CBI after senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi and Pragya Bahel, appearing for Bharti, opposed the bail application moved by five accused whose plea was earlier cancelled by Calcutta High Court.
The bench asked Gupta why the CBI failed to oppose the bail granted by the sessions court on May 18. The counsel said the CBI could not appear as it was not served a notice and the trial judge granted them bail.
The court then said the accused persons were arrested after more than two-and-half-years of the incident and only after the apex court issued a notice to the agency about the delay.
When Gupta said the accused were absconding, the bench asked: “How can you say they were absconding. All the five were arrested from a taxi stand where they were having tea. It is not that they went into hiding in some jungles.”
The arguments will resume tomorrow.
Madan Tamang, the president of the All India Gorkha League (ABGL), was killed allegedly by alleged Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters on May 21, 2010, before a public meeting.
According to the petitioner, it was only after the apex court’s notice in December last year to the CBI on the slow progress of the investigation that the agency chose to arrest five accused on February 15, in Darjeeling. They were Alok Kant Mani Thulung, Kismat Chhetri, Keshav Raj Pokhrel, Puran Thami and Dinesh Gurung — all Morcha leaders.