From Our Member Human Rights Alert, India – Press Release: Supreme Court questions CBI director Alok Kumar Verma for lack of progress in EEVFAM case
31 July 2018 5:59 pm
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Alok Kumar Verma was grilled by the Supreme Court for lack of progress in the investigations in the EEVFAM case, today afternoon at court no. 3.
The Attorney General tried to justify the delay but did not cut much ice when the bench confronted him with the timeline, prepared by the Amicus, demonstrating the dismal record of the investigation and the consistent failure to comply with the orders of the Court.
The CBI informed the Court that two charge sheets have been filed in the session’s court in Imphal this morning, two more will be filed by the end of this week, five more by the end of August and on all 41 incidents by the end of this year.
CBI has been attributing the delay in filing charge sheet to the seven layers of vetting the CBI Manual required them to do after the field investigation is completed. But when copies of the CBI Manual was perused Justice Lalit pointed out that in the present SIT all that is required is the approval of the law officer. The so-called “seven steps” was nowhere to be found in the Manual!
When asked if the charge sheets also include the prosecution sanction, the CBI director told the Court that prosecution sanction is not required as the fake encounters were carried out outside the duty of the security forces.
The CBI stated that in the charge sheets filed today 14 accused were charged for murder, criminal conspiracy and tampering of evidence. The Court was curious why no arrest was made till now or in the course of the investigation of such serious criminal charges. The Court pointed out that CBI’s responsibility is not only to file charges but they should also consider the consequences in the society when such a large number of the murder accused are made to roam around freely in a small society like Manipur! The CBI director assured the court that
he would take a call on the matter.
The Court wanted to know what else does CBI need to expedite the investigation. At the moment 12 investigating officers are working with two assistants each, as per their wish, the Court granted one more assistant for each of the investigators.
The petitioner’s counsel contested that the time sought for the completion of the investigation is too long, as normally investigation of murder cases ought to be completed within 90 days and the CBI had been sitting on the cases for more than a year. The Court did not want to interfere with the work of the investigation per se; but assured that the progress on the assurances given by the CBI would be closely monitored. The CBI director is ordered to be personally present in the next hearing on 20 August 2018.
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