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SC Unhappy With SIT Probe; Suggests Appointment of Retired HC Judge

Story Highlights
  • Reprimanded UP Govt and suggested appointment of a retired HC judge to monitor the probe.
  • Next hearing posted to Friday.
  • SC unhappy with the pace of the probe.

New Delhi: Expressing displeasure over the pace of the probe by the UP police, the SC recommended monitoring of the investigation by a retired HC judge outside UP. A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana admonished the UP police hearing the probe today and cited the: ‘pace of probe is not up to expectation’.

The top court bench alongside Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, disregarded the opinion of CBI probe saying “CBI is not the solution to everything. We want a retired HC Judge to monitor the probe and filing of separate chargesheets. We want to protect the evidence collected.” The apex court further expressed doubt about the manner in which the evidence is being recorded by the UP SIT.

During the hearing today, the state govt claimed to have sezied one mobile phone, to which the top court reprimanded saying, according to the reports submitted there were 16 accused in farmer mowing down incident of which 3 were lynched. “Why have you seized the phone of one accused? Where have you said in a status report that the rest of the accused threw away their mobiles but the police have recovered CDRs.”

At the outset, hitting at senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, the Chief Justice stated, “There is nothing in the status report. We granted 10 days time…lab reports have not come so far. It (the probe in the incident) is not going the way we expected.” The court also took note of the delay in procuring the forensic reports regarding the video evidence. According to Justice Kant, the SIT fails to keep the investigative distance between the FIRs (one where farmers were mowed down by the car and the other accused were killed)…important to ensure evidence in 219 and 220 (FIRs) recorded independently. Advocate Salve, representing the govt informed the court that lab reports will come by November 15.The bench posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.

The apex court was hearing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case after two lawyers had written to the CJI seeking a high-level judicial inquiry, and demanding probe by the CBI.

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