Manipur extra-judicial killings: SC summons CBI director over delay in probe

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New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) The Supreme Court, “not satisfied” with the pace of investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur, on Friday sought personal appearance of CBI Director before it on July 30 to decide the steps to be taken to expedite the process.

A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice U.U. Lalit said it was tired of the agency’s “snake and ladder game” and it was not satisfied with the pace of the probe while summoning its director to explain about the timeline and also about the manner of the probe.

The bench sought the presence of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director at 2 p.m. on Monday, after the agency failed to submit final investigation report in extra-judicial killings in Manipur in four cases.

It was upset with the CBI on its failure to submit final investigation reports, which the CBI has assured to be filed by July 27, but during Friday’s hearing, the CBI instead wanted more time to file final reports.

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The agency has not filed any charge sheet till date into the alleged extra-judicial killings/staged gunfights by the army, Assam Rifles and police in Manipur.

On July 5, asserting that violation of human rights “cannot be tolerated”, the bench had sought the SIT report by July 27, after the agency apprised the court that investigation has been completed in the four cases and final reports were in the process of being finalised.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the CBI’s Special Investigation Team (SIT), told the court that there was no deliberate delay on the part of the CBI and the process of vetting the charge sheet and approval had to take some time.

A DIG-level officer explain to the court the multi-step process of vetting the final report by as many as 10 officers in the CBI, at this the bench said that it would contemplate to issue an order that all these officers will sit together on one day and approve one case per day.

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The bench said: “It has become like snake and ladder – go up and go down, up and down and we are tired of this. Underlying principle is that you must expedite the process. Let all these officers in CBI sit together one day, apply their minds and finish it in one day. Let there be an exception to your manual.”

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for PIL petitioner, to disband the current SIT and constitute new SIT on its own.

“They (CBI’s SIT) are not interested in court orders. Pass final order to disband SIT. Why should we have the SIT? Appoint SIT of your own choice. There is a wilful attempt to not follow the court’s orders,. Even after more than one-and-half-year FIRs can’t be registered,” he contended.

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The court was hearing a PIL seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur.

On July 14, 2017, the apex court set up the SIT comprising CBI officers and ordered registration of FIRs and investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur.

The court had ordered the registration of FIRs in 81 cases including 32 probed by a Commission of Inquiry, 32 investigated by judicial authorities, 11 in which compensation was awarded and six probed by the commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde.

–IANS

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