'No Fault With Police In Encounter Killings & Atiq Ahmed Murder' : UP Govt Files Report In Supreme Court
In a significant development, the State of Uttar Pradesh has submitted a detailed status report in response to a Supreme Court directive issued on August 11, 2023, in the case of Vishal Tiwari v. Union of India. The Supreme Court had ordered the submission of an Affidavit outlining the stage of investigation or trial in cases specified by the petitioner, and also to consider existing reports...
In a significant development, the State of Uttar Pradesh has submitted a detailed status report in response to a Supreme Court directive issued on August 11, 2023, in the case of Vishal Tiwari v. Union of India. The Supreme Court had ordered the submission of an Affidavit outlining the stage of investigation or trial in cases specified by the petitioner, and also to consider existing reports and recommendations regarding police encounters.
The petitioner, Vishal Tiwari had expressed concerns over alleged police encounters leading to the deaths of criminals in Uttar Pradesh. He specifically mentioned encounters involving Prem Prakash Pandey & Atul Dubey, Amar Dubey, Prabhat Mishra & Praveen Dubey, Vikas Dubey, Asad, Atiq Ahmad, and his brother Ashraf.
The bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Aravind Kumar was hearing two petitions. One was filed by Advocate Vishal Tiwari in the backdrop of the killings of gangster-politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother. The second petition was filed by Atiq Ahmed’s sister Aisha Noori for a court-monitored probe into the killings of her brothers in April 2023 when they were being taken for medical check-ups in police custody
The State of UP in its recent status report asserted that each of the seven incidents highlighted by the petitioner has been thoroughly investigated in accordance with the directions and guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court in various decisions. They claim that no fault has been found on the part of the police in the above said incidents (including the murders of Atiq Ahmed and brother) where investigations are complete.
The status report filed by the UP Standing Counsel Ruchira Goel is endorsed by an affidavit filed by Amitabh Yash, ADG Special Task Force, UP Police.
Incidents related to Vikas Dubey Gang
In its compliance report, the state submitted that the state constituted a 3-member Judicial Inquiry Commission headed by Dr. Justice (Retd.) B.S. Chauhan to investigate the Bikru incident and the subsequent deaths of Vikas Dubey and some of his associates. In its report dated 11.04.2021, it has categorically found no fault with the actions of the police in the cases of the deaths of the Gang members of Vikas Dubey’s Gang.
It observed “Thus, the evidence relating to the sequence of events which ultimately resulted in the death of accused Vikas Dubey do not raise any kind of suspicion or doubt about the genuineness of police version of events. The result of the forensic examination report dated 20.07.2020 of firearms, cartridges, empty cartridges, and clothes corroborates the police version. The Magisterial inquiry conducted by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Kanpur Nagar in view of the directions issued by the Hon 'ble Apex Court, stood concluded taking the same view. We do not see any reason to differ from the same.”
The State submitted that the Supreme Court had accepted the Inquiry Commission's report in its order dated July 22, 2022, noting that the inquiry was conducted transparently and in the public domain. The Court ordered the report to be placed in the relevant petitions, indicating no further orders were necessary.
Inquiry into the alleged encounter of Asad Ahmad and Mohd. Ghulam
The State apprised the court that after a thorough investigation, no lapse was found in the police version and Final Reports were submitted to the Court. The magisterial inquiry’s report which concluded on 2nd September, 2023 also found no fault with the police.
It also submitted that another Commission headed by Justice (Retd.) Rajeev Lochan Mehrotra is currently conducting an inquiry into the police encounters that led to the deaths of gangsters Mohd. Asad Khan.
Investigation into the murder of Atiq Ahmad and Ashraf
The State submitted that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising three members was constituted to delve into this case, and significant progress has been made.
The affidavit stated, “It was found that the accused individuals, Sunny Singh alias Purane Singh alias Mohit, Lavlesh Tiwari, and Arun Kumar Mauhad committed the crime with common intention and before the incident, they had stayed in a hotel on the basis of forged Aadhar cards, as a result, on the basis of evidence, section 34/419/420/467/468/471 IPC was included in the case.”
In light of the evidence gathered during the investigation, the State filed a chargesheet against them on 12 July 2023. Additionally, the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Prayagraj has taken cognizance of the case on July 14, 2023. The case has been registered in the District and Sessions Judge of Prayagraj. The next date of hearing is scheduled for October 3, 2023, during which preliminary discussions on framing charges will take place.
The State submitted that “it is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a fair and impartial investigation into the incidents which includes the murder of Atiq Ahmad and Ashraf. The sweeping allegations made against it are completely false and unjustified.”
In addition to the active investigation into specific cases, the State of UP had also established a 5-member judicial commission led by Justice (Retd.) Dilip Babasaheb Bhonsle. The commission's comprehensive inquiry is progressing, with the members scheduled to meet again on October 8, 2023.
In its report submitted before the Supreme Court, the State of UP outlined its commitment to adhering to various court orders and commission recommendations, emphasizing transparency and accountability in its law enforcement practices. Key highlights include:
- PUCL Guidelines Implementation (August 1, 2017): Following the issuance of the PUCL Guidelines, the Director General of Police (DGP) in Uttar Pradesh issued a circular directing strict adherence to the guidelines.
- Daily Progress Reports (March 9, 2018): The state issued directives mandating the submission of Daily Progress Reports on police actions. These reports, including information on the number of accused arrested, injured, and killed in police actions, are to be submitted district-wise to the DGP Headquarters.
- Regular Monitoring of Police Self-Defense Actions since 2017- There has been continuous monitoring of police self-defense actions resulting in the deaths of accused individuals which is collected and scrutinized every month at the police Headquarters level.
- Steps to expedite Legal Disposal and Monitoring: the state issues instructions to the concerned Zonal Additional Director General of Police and Police Commissioner at the Police Headquarters level. Requests to expedite magisterial inquiries have been made to the Uttar Pradesh Government
- Regular Reviews: The state conducts regular reviews at the police headquarters level,
- Systematic reporting to National Human Rights Commission-The Office of State Crime Records Bureau in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, actively monitors incidents related to deaths in police encounters. Information on these incidents is systematically sent to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) every six months. The most recent half-yearly report was submitted on July 11, 2023.
- Incorporation of Recommendations (May 11, 2023): In line with recommendations concerning police raids, a circular issued by the DGP Headquarters on May 11, 2023, has led to the inclusion of a dedicated section on the conduct of "Raids and Search" in the "Police Station Management Handbook."
Case title- Vishal Tiwari v. Union of India| Aisha Noori v. Union of India
Citation: W.P. Crl. 177/2023| W.P. Crl. 280/2023