New Delhi: On Tuesday, the Supreme Court dismissed pleas seeking the removal of retired high court judge Shashi Kant Agarwal and retired Uttar Pradesh director general of police (DGP) K.L. Gupta from the three-member inquiry commission set up to investigate the killing of gangster Vikas Dubey in a police encounter.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said it would not allow the petitioners, who had referred to media interviews by Gupta for seeking his removal, to cast aspersions on the inquiry commission.
The panel will also probe the alleged killing of eight policemen by the Dubey gang and the subsequent encounter of the gangster and five of his associates.
The bench, also comprising of Justice A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, perused the media reports pertaining to interviews by Gupta and said the inquiry would not be vitiated as there are former judges of the apex court and the high court as part of the commission.
On July 22, the apex court had approved the Uttar Pradesh government’s draft notification for appointing former top court judge Justice (retd) B.S. Chauhan as the chairman of the three-member inquiry commission.
Eight policemen, including DSP Devendra Mishra, were killed in Bikru village in Chaubeypur area of Kanpur when they were going to arrest Dubey shortly after midnight on July 3.
Dubey was killed in an encounter in the early hours of July 10. The police said after the vehicle carrying him from Ujjain to Kanpur met with an accident in the Bhauti area, the gangster tried to escape from the spot.
Prior to Dubey’s encounter, five of his alleged associated were killed in separate encounters.
During the hearing, petitioner Ghanshyam Upadhyay referred to media statements given by Gupta and claimed that it reflected his bias regarding the encounter.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for Uttar Pradesh, argued that Gupta had said that there will be an inquiry into the incident. Mehta stated that there should be no controversy regarding this.
The bench said that Gupta had also made it clear in his statements that if any policemen will be found guilty, then they will be taken to task.
“We were with you but DGP says law will take its course… you feel DGP had supported the encounter killing, but he has taken a balanced view where he says police found guilty will be punished. We cannot entertain this based on an apprehension,” CJI Bobde said.
“Why are you casting aspersions on them? Don’t do this. We will not allow you to do this,” the bench said.
The top court said that even in a trial, the chargesheet is accepted and accepting it does not mean that contents of the probe report has been believed by the court.
On July 22, the apex court had directed that the inquiry commission should start functioning within a week and that the probe should be concluded within two months.
The apex court had passed the order last week while hearing a batch of petitions which sought a court-monitored probe into the encounters of Dubey and five of his alleged associates.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government had said that it has constituted a three-member SIT, headed by UP additional chief secretary Sanjay Bhoosreddy on July 11, to look into the crimes committed by the gangster and the alleged collusion between Dubey, the police and politicians.
SG Mehta had earlier informed the court that Dubey, who was facing 65 FIRs, was released on bail, to which the apex court said it is a failure of the institution.
(With PTI inputs)