The Supreme Court on Tuesday approved the constitution of an inquiry commission headed by Justice B S Chauhan, former Supreme Court judge, to probe into the genuineness of the encounter killing of UP gangster Vikas Dubey.
The name of Justice Chauhan was suggested by the Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the government of Uttar Pradesh.
The SG told the bench headed by CJI SA Bobde that Justice Chauhan has agreed to a be a part of commission.
The SG also suggested the name of former judge of Allahabad High Court, Justice Sashi Kant Agarwal and former UP Director General of Police, KL Gupta, to be a part of the probe team. He submitted that all background checks have been conducted for the former DGP.
The SG suggested that the Commission will also enquire into circumstances which led to the release of Vikas Dubey on bail/parole despite facing nearly 65 criminal cases.
CJI Bobde observed that the inquiry into the failure of any state functionaries which led to the release of Dubey was an "important factor".
Approving the names suggested by the Solicitor General, the SC directed the Commission to start functioning at the earliest, within a period of 1 week from today. It has been further directed to submit a report to the top court within two months in terms of Commission of Inquiry Act.
The Court further ordered that secretarial assistance should be provided by the Union or as directed by the chairman of the Commission.
The Court did not accept the suggestions of the petitioner, Ghanshyam Upadhyay, to include the judges proposed by him in the Commission. The petitioner had submitted a list including former Chief Justices of India TS Thakur and RM Lodha, and former Justices Santosh Hegde, Anil R. Dave, Kurian Joseph, Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, MY Eqbal, AK Patnaik, Vikramjit Sen, KS Panicker Radhakrishnan, and HL Gokhale. The list also included recently retired Justices Deepak Gupta and R. Banumathi.
Endorsing the selection of Justice Chauhan, CJI told the petitioner, "you should not find fault in constitution of commission with Justice Chauhan".
The petitioner clarified that he was not doubting the credentials of Justice Chauhan, but was seeking for inclusion of a judge from the High Court as well.
The bench also stated that the Commission will be based at Kanpur, overruling the reservations expressed by the petitioner about the Commission functioning in the State of UP.
Further, turning down the plea made by Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh(appearing for another petitioner), the bench said that it will not monitor the investigation held by SIT of UP police into the matter.
Upadhyay, a Mumbai-based lawyer, had filed the petition on July 10, in the wake of UP police killing five of the aides of Dubey in encounters. He voiced the apprehension that Dubey also would be killed in encounter, if there was no urgent intervention by the Court.
Before his petition was listed, Dubey was killed on the morning of July 11, in an encounter which happened while he was being taken from Ujjain (MP) to Kanpur.
The police claimed that Dubey had tried to escape after snatching a police rife, following the overturning of a vehicle in the convoy.
The UP Police has filed a counter-affidavit in the Court stating that the encounter of Dubey was not a manufactured one but real as his motive was to flee and kill the Cops who were guarding him.
Narrating the sequence of events which lead to the eventual death of Vikas Dubey, the police said that it was the result of a cross-fire between Dubey and the Police Personnel after the SUV carrying him overturned due to "heavy rainfall" which started at Barajor Toll Plaza and a "herd of cattle that suddenly came running on the road from the right side". This led to the police personnel getting seriously injured and losing consciousness, during which Dubey snatched the pistol from one of the Personnel and escaped.
The UP Government has formed a SIT headed by Additional Chief Secretary Sanjay Bhusreddy, to investigate the rise of Vikas Dubey and involvement of the police in his deep-rooted criminal network.