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Retired SC judge Chauhan to head panel probing policemen, Dubey killings

Police deployed at demolished residence of gangster Vikas Dubey   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on Wednesday approved the Uttar Pradesh government’s choice of former apex court judge Justice B.S. Chauhan heading the commission to inquire into the gunning down of eight police officers and the “fake” encounter killings of their alleged assailants, history-sheeter Vikas Dubey and his associates.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde said the “single most important aspect” of the commission’s inquiry should be how Dubey came to be released on bail or parole.

Dubey and his associates allegedly ambushed a police team that was on its way to his house at Bikru village in Kanpur on July 2 night and killed eight policemen.

“Had he been in jail, this would not have happened in the first place”, Chief Justice Bobde said.

The police caught up with Dubey at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. According to the official version, he was killed by the police team escorting him back to Kanpur when he allegedly tried to escape after the vehicle carrying him met with an accident.

‘Appalling’

Chief Justice Bobde has time and again said the court found it “appalling” that a man like Dubey, who had 64 criminal cases against him, including under the National Security Act, got parole or was out on bail. He had called it a “failure of the system”.

Primary among the tasks of the Justice Chauhan Commission of Inquiry (CoI) is to find the truth about how Dubey was released from jail, who all in the State officialdom are responsible for his release and whether the State did anything at all to cancel his bail/parole.

The commission has to also inquire into any “collusion” between the police or any State department with Dubey and suggest steps to prevent its recurrence in future.

Besides Justice Chauhan, the court agreed with U.P.’s decision to have former Director General of Police K.L. Gupta in the CoI. Retired Allahabad HC judge, Justice Shashi Kant Agarwal, would continue on the Commission.

The court directed the commission to begin work in a week and submit a report in two months from the date of commencement of its functioning. The State would also place a copy of the CoI report in the Legislative Assembly as per the law.

SIT probe

The court refused a plea to monitor the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the encounter deaths.

“You want the Supreme Court to monitor criminal investigations? This is fantastic!” Chief Justice Bobde exclaimed at the request.

However, the court gave the SIT the freedom to expand the scope of its probe and investigate any case in relation to the Dubey case.

Secretarial assistance to the CoI would be either given by the Centre or as per the wishes of Justice Chauhan. Petitioners who had approached the apex court can apply to the commission for an audience.

In the previous hearing, the court found “substance” in arguments that there has been “as many as 6,126 police encounters, in which 122 persons have been killed” in the State since Yogi Adityanath took over as Chief Minister. Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, for NGO People’s Union for Civil Liberties, had drawn the court’s attention to the police encounter death statistics from the State.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 4:48:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/retired-sc-judge-chauhan-to-head-panel-probing-policemen-dubey-killings/article32159918.ece

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