The Narendra Modi government on Wednesday suffered a setback with the Supreme Court declining to review its order directing a CBI probe into the 2005 fake encounter death of Sohrabuddin Sheikh near Ahmedabad and the killing of his wife Kausarbi, who was burnt to death.
A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Cyriac Joseph dismissed a petition filed by Gujarat seeking a review of the January 12 order, and another petition by senior IPS officer Geeta Johri for expunging certain observations made against her in the judgment.
Aggrieved by the order, by which the Central Bureau of Investigation was asked to probe if there was any “larger conspiracy” in the killings and to submit a report in six months, the State claimed that proper investigation had been conducted and those responsible were arrested.
I wasn't heard: Geeta
Ms. Johri contended that adverse remarks had been passed against her without her being heard, as she was not party to the proceedings in the petition filed by Rubabuddin, brother of Sohrabuddin.
In its January 12 judgment, the court said that taking into consideration the grave allegations made against high police officials, some of whom were already in custody, “We feel it proper and appropriate and in the interest of justice even at this stage, that is when the charge sheet has already been submitted, the investigation shall be transferred to the CBI for proper and thorough investigation.” The court said: “We feel that all concerned, including the relatives of the deceased, may feel that the investigation was not proper and in that circumstances it would be fit and proper that the writ petitioner and the relatives of the deceased should be assured that an independent agency should look into the matter and that would lend the final outcome of the investigation credibility, however faithfully the local police may carry out the investigation, particularly when gross allegations have been made against the high police.”
The former DIG of Police, D.B. Vanzara; Rajkumar Pandiyan of Gujarat's intelligence wing; Dinesh M.N. (of Rajasthan) are the main accused in the encounter killing. Another Gujarat police officer N.K. Ameen is also an accused.
On Ms. Johri , the court had said though initially the investigations were proceeding in the right direction under inspector V L Solanki, there were attempts to scuttle the probe and mislead the court on its progress. Mr. Solanki was “proceeding in the right direction, but Ms. Johri had not been carrying out the investigation in the right manner. It appears Ms. Johri had not made any reference to the second report of Solanki, and though his first report was attached with one of her reports, the same was not forwarded to this court. Therefore, her mentioning the criminal background of Sohrabuddin and the discussion among the accused officers concerning Sohrabuddin was meant to obfuscate the enquiry.”