Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

[Gujarat Riots] "Deeply Sorry Milords, But That Is My Case": Kapil Sibal To Supreme Court's Question, "How Can You Attack SIT Appointed By This Court?"

Sohini Chowdhury
16 Nov 2021 4:56 PM GMT
[Gujarat Riots] Deeply Sorry Milords, But That Is My Case: Kapil Sibal To Supreme Courts Question, How Can You Attack SIT Appointed By This Court?
x

On Tuesday, while making submissions in the Zakia Jafri's appeal, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal contended that the Special Investigation Team had neither looked into the reports by the National Human Rights Commission, Election Commission, Committee on Empowerment of Women set up by Parliament with respect to the Gujarat riots nor did they examine the members of such commissions. A...

On Tuesday, while making submissions in the Zakia Jafri's appeal, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal contended that the Special Investigation Team had neither looked into the reports by the National Human Rights Commission, Election Commission, Committee on Empowerment of Women set up by Parliament with respect to the Gujarat riots nor did they examine the members of such commissions.

A Bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar heard submissions in the plea challenging the SIT report giving clean chit to the highest State functionaries in the Gujarat riots of 2002. During the course of the day, Mr. Sibal took the court through the observations made by statutory, constitutional and parliamentary bodies with respect to the Gujarat riots and demonstrated the failure of the SIT to investigate the same.

Recapitulating the arguments he made on the previous date of hearing, Mr. Sibal submitted that -

"First charge deals with Buildup...The Magistrate nor the HC deal with it. Newspaper report in Faizabad - neither the Magistrate nor the HC dealt with it. The Tehelka tapes - neither the Magistrate nor the HC deals with it."

Collaboration of the key State functionaries with the accused

Thereafter, the Bench's attention was drawn towards the issue of collaboration of the key functionaries of the State with the accused persons. Referring to the documents submitted by him along with the Protest Petition, Mr. Sibal argued that -

"There was glaring evidence of collaboration. The bureaucracy became collaborators. Not all but the key people became collaborators. The political class became collaborators. The VHP, The Bajrang Dal, the RSS became collaborators. This is the stark story of collaboration with the accused."

The Bench raised a concern with respect to the argument made Mr. Sibal. Stating that motive could not be, possibly, attributed to SIT nor can it be accused of collaboration, Bench noted -

"The collaboration with the local police at ground level we understand and would look into it. How can you complain about SIT appointed by the Court?...This argument if we start entertaining it is a reflection on the SIT appointed by the Court itself. Is that your argument?"

In response Mr. Sibal stated -

"Yes, I am deeply sorry Milords but that is going to be my argument."

Reminding Mr. Sibal that the same SIT had eventually filed chargesheet in the other 8 cases and convictions were upheld in those matter, the Bench observed:

"You are attacking the manner of investigation done by SIT? It is the same SIT that had filed chargesheet in other cases and they were convicted. No such grievance in those proceedings."

The Bench clarified that -

"Collaboration is a strong term for an SIT appointed by the Court. Attributing motives to the SIT appointed by Court" - we are on that.

It was pointed out by Mr. Sibal, that the allegations of collaboration was not against SIT in the the sense the Court had perceived it, the submission was that the SIT did not make investigations regarding the collaboration and the allied issues, when there was evidence before it. He submitted -

"SIT had knowledge of Tehelka tapes. They knew about the judgment of Guj HC that authenticated the tapes. That is a question that anyone would ask. Why was the defence accepted by the SIT? What does it show - was SIT collaborating and saving some people. Why ? I don't know."

Hearing Mr. Sibal's submission the Bench demarcated the extent of his submission that the Bench felt was permissible at the present stage of the hearing -

"You can pitch for the time being that these are the materials that had to be looked into by the SIT. No explanation forthcoming. That we can understand. But attributing motive would be going too far. Error of judgment will be explained by SIT, then only you can pitch it to that extent."

Acknowledging the Bench's concern Mr. Sibal rephrased his submission -

"I'll pitch it lower, then. The officials who had ex facie committed offence were not prosecuted by the SIT.

Mr. Sibal pointed out that till date no explanation of these omissions were provided by SIT and therefore the same cannot be done at this stage by oral submissions.

In a lighter vein the Bench remarked -

"Maybe you have missed it in the record of the cases."

Record of proceedings before NHRC - not looked into; Statement of members of Commission not taken

Thereafter, Mr. Sibal went back to the paperbook to refer to the record of proceedings before the NHRC, which had taken up the matter suo moto based on reports of inaction of police and highest functionaries of the state of Gujarat.

"Pg 8 of Vol. X - Proceedings of the NHRC of the situation in Gujarat, from March 1 to July 2002. As your Lordship knows that NHRC functions under the Human Rights Act...We [NHRC] had expected a detailed reply from the Govt of Guj now after the notice issued on March 1...It was the concern of the Commission to see an end to the violence that was occurring and restoration of normalcy…Milords also mark the fact that the SIT never took any statements of any members of the commission.There were preliminary reports. There were sealed cover reports. Not looked at."

From the record of proceedings, Mr. Sibal emphasised that the Commission expressed disappointment since no response from Govt. of Gujarat was received for the longest time, even when there were ground reports of continuing violence. He submitted -

"In such circumstances the Commission decided that the Chairperson should lead a team of the Commission in Gujarat between 19 to 22nd March, 2002. Pursuant to this, the detailed report of the State of Gujarat was received on 20th March."

Referring to the obligation of the Commission Mr. Sibal apprised the court that its inquiry was suo moto in nature. He stated:

"They(Commission) started enquiring about this, suo moto as I have shown from the 1st document."

Mr. Sibal further emphasised that while commenting on the situation in Gujarat, the Commission had stated that:

"Unless rebutted by the State Government, the adverse inference against it would render it liable, the burden is therefore on the State Government to rebut this presumption."

Thereafter he read out the statutory recommendations of NHRC including -

"...entrusting of certain critical cases to CBI;...special courts should try these cases on a day to day basis, the judges being handpicked by the Chief Justice of the High Court of Gujarat; appointment of special prosecutors;...Special cells for the cases not sent to CBI."

Commenting on the nature of investigation led by the SIT, Mr. Sibal submitted -

"The confidential report (of NHRC) never saw the light of the day. No one in NHRC ever examined. Why? Then you jump to 31st of May. Heading: Lack of response to confidential reports. Till 31st May this report was not looked into. Why did SIT not ask for these documents. Why did they not examine it?"

He added -

"Despite repeated reminders no response was received about the report. They could no longer wait for a response and further recommendations were made."

It was pointed out by Mr. Sibal that the Commission had observed that nothing in the response provided by the Government of the State of Gujarat actually rebutted the presumption. He further remarked -

"In other words complete non-cooperation of the State Govt. SIT doesn't look at it."

Going to the next issue of failure of intelligence and the inadequate response of the State Government, Mr. Sibal submitted -

"Now come to Failure of Intelligence. This is important. This was with the prosecuting agency from the very beginning. Why was it not examined by SIT...State IB had alerted about movement of kar sevaks (when they left Guj),...however a specific alert on the return was received on 28th, after the incident. There was a major failure of Intelligence and the state has not rebutted that presumption...People armed with mobile telephones singling out houses for carrying out attacks. No mobile phone seized. What would an ordinary investigator do? They would have seized the mobile phone. Till date no mobile phone has been seized...This evidence was available way back in 2002, reiterated in the protest petition, set out in complaint."

Next, Mr. Sibal took the Court to the issue of the failure of the State agencies to identify the local factors that aggravated the tragic incidents in Gujarat. Referring to the State's hostile attitude towards the proceeding before the NHRC, Mr. Sibal submitted -

"The response of the State is that we will not give you (NHRC) response, we have set up the Nanavati Commission."

Pointing at the non-cooperation of the State in the proceeding, he added:

"Who is responsible for this if the State Govt. does not cooperate with the statutory authority. Milords who are responsible for this. NHRC had to file a petition in the Supreme Court to validate the tapes. The State Gov. was not bothered about it."

The next issue dealt with by the Commission was the pattern of arrest. Taking the Bench through the record of proceedings in this regards Mr. Sibal argued:

"Next, Pattern of arrest...Kindly see that 11000 something people were arrested. When and where arrests were made...Were those who were specifically named arrested? Milords, specific names not arrested. Those arrested were immediately bailed out."

At this juncture the Bench interjected -

"If they are bailed out then how can you blame the investigating agency?"

Clarifying that he was not blaming the Court, Mr. Sibal stated -

"The prosecutors did not oppose (this is the collaboration)."

Mr. Sibal read out from the proceedings that the NHRC observed lack of integrity in the process of investigation. He added that

"If Zakia repeats it, it is based on the records of a statutory body (NHRC)...So what did the SIT ultimately do, it took the statement of Jadeja and Ashok Bhat, accepts the statement and closes the matter. If you accept the statement of the alleged accused, then what are you investigating?...You should have taken his phone (examined it)."

Depicting the realities of the arrest on the ground, Mr. Sibal submitted -

"If you want to save somebody you yourself register the FIR and show the person is unknown. Then what happens is that if the victim comes to you and names a person and says lodge an FIR, then the police person says that I don't have to lodge it, there is already an FIR. So those names never come on record."

He added -

"Even when complaints were made, names of offenders not noted.This shows collaboration of the machineries of the State. In almost all cases copies of FIR not given.[Instances of Rape] FIR not accurately recorded, and victims harassed...These are grave matter, not to be forgiven or forgotten."

Calling it an indictment Mr. Sibal stated -

"This is an indictment based on evidence before the commission. SIT did not examine. Would that be negligence, collaboration or oversight?"

"This was with the police. This SIT was not responsible for the findings." - the Bench clarified.

Mr. Sibal informed the Bench -

"I am saying that. Why did the SIT not examine the record?"

The Bench again stated -

"Collaboration is with officials, not SIT."

Agreeing to the same, Mr. Sibal stated:

"Yes, collaboration here is not with SIT."

Then, Mr. Sibal moved on to the letter written by Justice Divecha, former judge of the High Court of Gujarat. He read out the frightful incidents that took place around his residence as elucidated in the said letter.

"[Divecha's flat was set on fire in the evening] From morning to 4 (evening) no bandobast was made. Again, Divecha's statement was never recorded, Quadri's statement never recorded, fire brigade's statement never recorded...By morning to afternoon no protection. ...Ashok Bhat helped him then they were shifted out. Not only talking about local Police but also the SIT."

Mr. Sibal drew the attention of the Bench to the recommendation that the CBI should be involved in the matter. However, the same was rejected. He submitted -

"Now, come back, Milords to pg. 30. Then, involvement of CBI. They recommended that CBI should be involved. Kindly see, under the heading law and order. CBI Recommendation rejected."

Noting that the recommendation regarding special courts and special prosecutors were also rejected he added -

"Special prosecutors and special courts were also rejected. NHRC stated - The response did not indicate if the recommendation of special prosecutors and special courts were accepted by the State Govt."

The Bench remarked - "These are all recommendations.Nothing to do with facts."

In response, Mr. Sibal that the recommendations have some statutory force. He submitted -

"Your Lordship is right. These are recommendations. Under the Act they have some statutory force. No objections (by public prosecutor) on grant of bail. That is the point I am trying to make."

Thereafter, Mr. Sibal pointed out the issue of provocative statements by local media. Though the Govt. had assured the Commission that they would look into the same, no further specifics regarding such investigation was provided by them.

Noting the NHRC recommendation on Identification of Delinquent public servants Mr. Sibal apprised the Bench that -

"No person prosecuted for hate speeches."

Reading further from the report, Mr. Sibal submitted -

"The VHP gave a call for a bandh supported by State BJP. Police did not take precaution in known areas which were sensitive...Police acted as silent spectators...Why I am showing this is that, the fact that this material was available even when SIT was appointed by this Court. The submission is that when this evidence was available why did they not act on it even before the complaint was made by Zakia. Why did the SIT discard this. What Zakia said was nothing new, it was already part of the record and yet SIT did not investigate these matters."

Regarding the issue of mob mobilisation, Mr, Sibal submitted:

"Mobs were led by VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal leaders. Mobs were equipped with kerosene...They had list of Muslim houses,shops...When SIT was constituted they should have accessed these records. Next is Vadodara. Lot of details on Vadodara are also given. Then Godhra is dealt with."

Thereafter, to substantiate that the power of the NHRC was drawn from the statute, Mr. Sibal read out Section 12 of the Human Rights Act -

"So, this is an action under Section 12A. That is now the Commission acted. So this was a statutory exercise under S.12A. They are also entitled to give recommendations under S.12A."

Observations made by the Election Commission - not looked into

From the record of proceedings before the NHRC, Mr. Sibal moved on to the observations made by the Election Commission, which had visited Gujarat to determine if elections can be held in the State -

"Now Milords. Your lordships will notice that from March 1 right through, in the middle there was an issue of EC. EC had to go to Guj. That constitutional authority reaching Guj also made some observations. Your Lordships will see that the date is 16th of Aug, 2002."

Portraying the scale of the massacre in Gujarat as informed to the Election Commission, Mr. Sibal submitted -

"The ADG of police informed the Commission that 151 towns and 999 villages...were affected by the riots...Most of the displaced electors have not yet returned to their houses. We are now in Aug, 2002."

Mr. Sibal further submitted based on the observations of the Election Commission -

"Then he(EC) comments on law and order...The instances of rioting are still high in 12 affected areas (even in August)...Everywhere there were complaints of culprits moving around scot free...In Kheda district the team was told that culprits were identified, but not arrested. Same situation in 12 districts visited by the EC team. SIT did not go to the EC which is a constitutional authority. Then what was the SIT doing?"

Report of Committee on Empowerment of Women - not looked into

Mr. Sibal pointed out that there was yet another report that was overlooked by the SIT -

"Another report your lordships will find in Vol. XI. Milords, is the Committee on empowerment of women, 9th Report. This would be part of Parliamentary records. This would be available to both Govt and SIT. Again no one examined."

Reading from the Report of the Committee, he submitted -

"In any type of riots women are the most affected...185 cases of attack on women out of which 100 in Ahmedabad. 11 cases of rape registered.[Then come to views of Committee] Police has not registered FIR regarding crime against women and where registered the progress was slow...58 cases of sexual harassment were to be properly investigated so as to do justice. Kindly See para 44, Committee noted no efforts made to identify hate literature circulated in the State. All these materials were part of the protest petition but nothing was done...The whole issue of hate crimes was discarded by everybody. Nobody had to rely on a complaint [material was available since 2002].The complaint was made because nothing was being done."

Thereafter, Mr. Sibal placed reliance on a judgement of the Madras High Court dated 5th of Feb, 2021, presently in appeal before the Supreme Court, which dealt with the statutory effect of the recommendations of NHRC.

Coming to investigation of each of the elements of the incident by the SIT as mentioned in his compilation, Mr. Sibal submitted -

"Kindly come to Vol VA. Milords already have the chart. Kindly take up the chart for Vol I. [Refers to the Buildup] no comment by Magistrate, no comments by HC. Part of the protest petition, evidence already available, not dealt with. Not commented upon, just not dealt with.

Then your lordships will come to item 2. Not dealt with. Standard operating procedure. Neither dealt with by the Mag nor HC.

Item 3 - Jan Morcha report not dealt with both Mag and HC.

Item 4 - Built-up of arms and ammunition. Mag does not deal with Tehelka tapes on Haresh Bhat, Anil Patel, Dhawal Patel and Babu Bajrangi. Magistrate does not deal with it."

Showing that the Tehelka tapes were not referred to by the Magistrate, Mr. Sibal stated:

"Kindly see what the Magistrate says. There is no reference to the Tehelka tape at all."

"Closure report refers to it?", the Bench enquires.

Informing the Bench that the closure report had referred to the tapes, Mr. Sibal went on to show how the Magistrate had dealt with it:

"The Magistrate deals with extra judicial confession in principle. Some general statements are made in para 14. The Mag. does not deal with the Tehelka tape at all. This is another tape the Mag. is dealing with...[The Magistrate stated extra-judicial confession cannot be substantive and needs corroboration] This Court in Bura Singh (shown on the last day) laid down that it can be substantive evidence. Magistrate does not deal with all these evidence."

Then the extent of the consideration of the tapes in the closure report was pointed out by him -

"In Closure report only Babu Bajrangi is dealt with and SIT accepts his statement. Why did they not investigate Haresh Bhat, Anil Patel, Dhawal Patel?...I have mentioned in my note that the Magistrate does not deal with the sting operation of Haresh Bhat, Dhawan Patel and Anil Patel. That statement is correct. However he peripherally refers to the sting."

Reading from the Magistrates order Mr. Sibal informed the Bench that the Magistrate noted that the sting operation was not referred to in the complaint. However, he further pointed out that such an observation would not stand ground, given the fact that the complaint was filed before the sting operation was carried out. -

"[In Mag.order] The complainant brings to the notice the Sting related to Rajender Vaish, Hemant Bhat and Arvind Pandeya...Jugde says it is not mentioned in the complaint. How could it be referred to in complaint, it (sting) was in 2007. My complaint was in 2006."

He added -

"He refers to it as weak kind of evidence. Now the question arises why did SIT not make Ashish Khetan a prosecution witness. The result was that the complainant had to go before the Court."

Demonstrating how the High Court dealt with the evidence, Mr. Sibal submitted -

"Milords, because they thought the larger conspiracy case was with respect to Gulberga society. Milords I have already shown that SC said that this evidence cannot be used in any other case. The sting operation shows the elements of conspiracy...This is how Mag and HC dealt with it."

Mr. Sibal cited the Best Bakery Judgment (2004)4SCC158 in which was ordered, and the matter was moved out of Gujarat to Bombay. In the said judgment several observations were made on the role of investigating agencies in matters of this nature. Reading from the judgment, he noted that the PPs did not properly conduct the trial and the investigation by the investigating agency was perfunctory and not impartial.

Mr. Sibal pointed out -

"What happened was not wrt to one particular incident. It is that a communal upsurge was not effectively prevented and later the people responsible were not effectively prosecuted. That had to be brought to light by an agency (SIT) appointed by your lordship...Your lordship had said when the protest petition is before you, that you have to deal with each and every allegation. That is my grievance with the courts (these allegations along with evidence were not looked into by the Mag. and HC)."

Commenting on the inaction of the SIT, Mr. Sibal noted:

"So, Milords, why did the agency show lethargy in not collecting evidence, not relying upon the tapes, not making Ashish Khetan a prosecution witness...Milords quite frankly in Zaheera Habibullah's case the task was more difficult, where the TC and HC had acquitted. In our case, the stage is much prior to this [cognisance was only not taken]."

Again he referred to the Best Bakery judgment to depict the elements of trial mentioned therein -

"Milords, when Pandeya(PP) in Tehelka tapes says he is collaborating with the accused. He has no response to that. [Mr. Sibal reminds the Court that in the Best bakery case it was the same State i.e. Guj. [Thereafter, he reads out the criticism of SC in the said judgment.]...Milords might note that this judgement was rendered on 12.04.2004. This is the direction that is pointed out in respect of key elements in trial - nature of investigation, role of PP, role of investigating agency...The Magistrate does not deal with this. If the court turns a Nelson's eye then how is this investigation at all?"

Next, it was pointed out by Mr. Sibal, under pressure of the state functionaries Zaheera changed her stand and was eventually prosecuted for perjury.

"[Refers to (2006) 3 SCC 374 para 4, 5 which deals with Zahira changing stands] - We have just been able to demonstrate that this is how justice is rendered and how agencies behave."

Mr. Sibal dealt with another judgment -

"The other judgment that I wanted to show (2012) 8 SCC 263. Some relevance to our case and my submissions.[The Judgment referred to dealt with collusion between doctor and investigating agency; material evidence held from court]."

Drawing the Bench's attention towards the insufficiencies in the investigation with respect to the Tehelka tapes, Mr. Sibal stated:

"In our case tapes not sent by the agency for ascertaining their veracity. NHRC had to move the SC. Why were the prosecuting agencies earlier and SIT not sending the tapes. Acts of commission gives colour to the submissions that I am making. These are not technical omissions. If I may say they are 'deliberate acts' of omission. We had no knowledge that sealed covers were sent by SIT from time to time. We had no access to the sealed covers. Consider our plight and SIT was filing these in sealed covers till SC said that SIT had to go to trial court and move ahead. In 2013 we got the full material."

"What became the ultimate victim in this case was justice itself.", he added.

Returning to the judgment Mr. Sibal submitted that -

"This is exactly what happened in our case. Provision of CrPC has been violated. You are to collect evidence not accept the statement of the accused."

Referring to the two aspect of Article 21, discussed elaborately on the last occasion he submitted -

"Innocent should be protected and accused be punished - these are the two elements of Article 21."

Thereafter, Mr. Sibal goes back to the heading in Vol VA which showed the elements of the incident -

"Milords, why did I pointed out these two judgments? To show judicial direction. Now, let me go back to Vol VA. I have divided two volumes into separate headings. First heading is Arms gathering, bomb manufacturing by organisations all over Guj in 2002."

Unable to find the heading the Bench enquired - "Where is the heading?"

Apologising to the Bench. Mr. Sibal informed -

"Actually there is no heading. I have added it in my document for convenience."

He thereafter referred to the transcripts of Dhawal Patel.

"Your Lordships will take Volume VA. Kindly come to the (Tehelka) transcript of Dhawal Patel...Your Lordships will see that this was not referred to by the prosecution, SIT or Mag. Why did SIT not rely upon this. This refers to conspiracy. You are sending bombs all across. This is the larger conspiracy...[Transcript stated Police stood by...supported the mob]. Why this omission by SIT? Why was this man not arrested? Because obviously he needed protection...Kindly note that this was 27th afternoon. Bodies have not reached Ahmedabad."

Mr. Sibal read the note in the transcript which stated Dhawal instructed his men in Gujarati to get bomb making material and explained the procedure to Khetan.

He added -

"Testimony not relied upon. This man was never arrested, never investigated."

Then, Mr. Sibal takes the Court through the relevant portion of the transcript of Haresh Patel, who talked about manufacturing and transporting bombs:

"Then there is the transcript of Haresh Bhat, Vol VB. From pg 381 a summary - [handpicking of PPs and defence advocates; police did not stop use of bombs and smuggling of arms]...Then to pg 401. Milords I want to clarify that the entire transcripts are more than what we have given. We have culled out the relevant one. We will give the page in the note correlating to the transcript.[Reads from transcript] How could you get (bomb) when curfew was imposed. I got them from MP, Bihar...Only swords were brought?.. We made (rocket) launchers filled with gunpowder. Was it used everywhere? In Ahmedabad? Yes, I am talking about Ahmedabad]...I owned a gun factory.. used to make firecrackers, we made all the bombs there, used to supply there.We got two truckloads of swords from Punjab."

Mr. Sibal quickly added -

"I am not saying this is proved.But, why was the investigation not done. Now that is the SIT for your lordship. There is another part of Haresh Bhat's testimony."

"Mr. Sibal you have made a point that the script has not been looked at in the closure report, HC or Mag. We do not have to read it like that. Only if the other side points out that this has been considered then we can see", stated the Bench.

Clarifying the purpose for perusing the transcripts, Mr. Sibal submitted:

"I was pointing out because they were under different heads and they all point towards a larger conspiracy. Come to the next heading: Hate letting, mob mobilisation, committing violent acts...I'll give the page numbers then I do not have to read in entirety."

The transcripts of Dilip Trivedi, PP were then looked into. Mr. Sibal submitted -

"Another PP was Dilip Trivedi, GS of VHP. Kindly have a look at it.He says I have coordinated all matters in all courts.This is because of God's grace that PPs like Arvind Pandey had faith in me, worked the way I told them to and I have not given anything to these advocates...He is a PP and he is telling the accused whom to engage. He is getting lawyers for accused, co-ordinating PPs. This is a farce of investigation and what was SIT doing...He congratulated himself that out of 1700 cases, 12 resulted in conviction. None of this is related to Gulberga. He said KG Shah (member of commission) has been very helpful. This is a very serious matter, if true, might not be true."

Mr. Sibal further stated -

"If defence collaborated with PP then why have a prosecution. When I said collaborated, it was in this sense. Ideally what happened, the poor victims knew they had no choice, they were offered money, defence lawyer was spoken to. This is a matter of investigation. He (Dilip) said he managed the whole of Guj...All this is by God's grace we managed all cases. Out of 12 cases 3 convictions were done by Muslim judges."

Commenting on the indication of Dilip regarding conviction by Muslim judges, Mr. Sibal remarked - "See the mindset of this man."

Further perusing the transcript he submitted -

"[Dilip said]There is a lot of support from KG Shah and Nanavati commission. This is to show the kind of role of PPs. SIT looked the other way. Did not do its duty...Kindly come to Vol VA pg 669. [when asked about Tehelka tapes, Dilip said] I have not met such a reporter nor do I know him...Dilip said he had not (directly) spoken to Tehelka reporter] So Milords what is this investigation?"

Demonstrating how the SIT dealt with the transcript in the closure report, Mr. Sibal stated:

"Now, how does SIT accept this in the Closure report at pg. 1393 Vol VIII. Kindly see the allegation in pg. 1393 of the closure report. Pro VHP prosecutors were appointed, is the allegation. Dilip Trivedi is referred to [in closure report]. [It states on overall observation nothing unusual with the appointment.] The man should have been made an accused. He said he never met Ashish Khetan."

Setting out the course for the next day's argument Mr. Sibal informed the Bench -

"Tomorrow we will show the CBI has said that these tapes are genuine.This is a case of contempt of court. This is helping the accused, the public prosecutor. The Mag. and HC are not looking at it...They (SIT) say that political affiliation weighed in with the Govt. but no action was taken. I'll continue tomorrow then, Milords."

Hearing to continue tomorrow i.e. 17.11.2021.

Click Here To Read/Download The Order



Next Story