Monday, 30th October 2017

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Murder accused roaming? SC asks

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the CBI to "take a call" on subjecting to "custodial interrogation" security and police personnel allegedly involved in Manipur's extra-judicial killings even as it wondered why some of the accused persons had not been arrested.

By Our Legal Correspondent
  • Published 31.07.18
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CBI chief Alok Verma arrives at the Supreme Court on Monday. (PTI)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the CBI to "take a call" on subjecting to "custodial interrogation" security and police personnel allegedly involved in Manipur's extra-judicial killings even as it wondered why some of the accused persons had not been arrested.

"...It means about 14-15 persons who are accused of serious offences like murder are freely roaming the streets of Manipur?" Justice Madan B. Lokur, sitting in a bench with Justice U.U. Lalit, asked CBI director Alok Kumar during a hearing.

The court made the observation after the CBI chief said chargesheets had been filed on Monday against 15 police/security personnel and others in two cases of fake encounters under Sections 302 (murder), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (destruction of evidence) and other relevant provisions of the IPC. The court pointed out that in such cases, a person was generally arrested and subjected to custodial interrogation whereas no such efforts were made by the agency.

Kumar admitted that no arrests had been made so far in the cases but could not give a convincing reason, apart from mentioning that the cases pertained to 1980.

The bench said it would leave it to the CBI "to take a call" on the arrest of the 15 persons against whom chargesheets had been filed and custodial interrogation of those accused against whom chargesheets had not yet been filed.

The court recorded an undertaking from the CBI chief that chargesheets in five of the cases would be filed by the end of August this year.

It directed the CBI to follow a three-layer system, instead of a 10-layer rigmarole, while approving the chargesheets in all the remaining cases. Under this procedure, the chargesheet, after it is filed by the investigating officer, would be vetted only by the legal officer and the CBI joint director, who heads the special investigation team (SIT) constituted by the apex court.

The bench also asked the CBI chief to provide additional officers to the SIT to expedite the process of filing charge-sheets in all the remaining cases at the earliest.

Listing the matter for further hearing to August 20, the court asked the CBI chief to be present on that day too.