The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre, the State and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a Petition demanding independent investigation into the alleged encounter of eight Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists following a daring prison break in Bhopal.
The Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi has asked the Centre and Madhya Pradesh Government to explain why CBI investigation was not ordered in the Case,
The notices were issued on a Special Leave Petition filed by Mehmooda Mohammed Salim Mucchhale filed through Advocate Sidharth Dave, challenging a judgement passed by Madhya Pradesh High Court in February this year, wherein the High Court had dismissed the Petition in view of rejection of similar prayers by a coordinate Bench.
Posing 13 substantial questions of law, the Petitioner now contends that the encounters need to be investigated independently, contending, “when a police encounter occurs, it is important that a complaint is registered; the evidence is preserved; independent and fair investigation takes place; victims are informed and inquest is conducted.”
The Petitioner raises questions on the credibility of the present manner of investigation, citing the “haste” in the passing of the order of enquiry by the IPS Officer and the appointment of a Commission of a retired High Court Judge under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952.
Besides, the Petition also highlights the fact that the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister had declared rewards for the police personnel involved in the alleged encounter, and had publicly denounced the deceased under-trial prisoners, branding them as “terrorists”.
The involvement of MP Police personnel has also been contended to be a serious concern, submitting, “…no matter how many inquiries are initiated by the Madhya Pradesh Government to investigate the matter it will not yield any result unless such inquiries are done out of the influence of the authorities whose genuineness in handing the matter is under challenged.”
The Petition further questions the investigation which has so far been conducted by the one-man Commission, bringing it to the notice of the Court that it has neither afforded an opportunity of being heard to the family members of the deceased prisoners, nor permitted them to cross-examine witnesses.
Calling the enquiry a “sham”, the Petition, thereafter, demands investigation into the incident by the CBI or an SIT formed by the Court.
The High Court had, earlier, turned down the plea of the mother of one of the deceased prisoners, wherein she had demanded certain documents of inquiry into the incident. The Court had opined that family members of the deceased prisoners “are not concerned with such documents as they are alien for such aspect of the inquiry”.