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'Tired of Snake and Ladder, Call Your Director': SC Pulls up CBI Over Manipur Fake Encounter Cases

The Supreme Court said it wants the CBI chief to explain in person the impediments in complying with the orders and also the long in-house process of the agency to approve final reports.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:July 28, 2018, 9:11 AM IST
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'Tired of Snake and Ladder, Call Your Director': SC Pulls up CBI Over Manipur Fake Encounter Cases
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New Delhi: Stating that it is tired of the CBI's "snake and ladder game", the Supreme Court on Friday summoned the director of the investigating agency seeking an explanation for lapses into the investigations of Manipur fake encounter killing cases.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Uday U Lalit sought the presence of the CBI Director at 2 pm on Monday.

"We are not satisfied with the pace of the probe. We want to know from the CBI director about the timeline and also about the manner of the probe," said the bench in its order.

The court said it wants the agency chief to explain in person the impediments in complying with the orders and also the long in-house process of the agency to approve final reports.

"We want to discuss this with CBI director. Call him on Monday and we will devise modalities after our interaction," the bench told Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who appeared for the agency in this matter.

The court was irate over the fact that in spite of a categorical statement to submit final investigation reports in four cases of extra-judicial killings by July 27, not a single report has been filed so far. The CBI instead wants more time to do so.

The CBI is probing alleged extra-judicial killings and fake encounters by the Army, Assam Rifles and police in insurgency-hit Manipur.

ASG Singh sought to point out that there was no deliberate delay on the part of the CBI and that the process of vetting the chargesheet and approval had to take some time.

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

"It has become like snake and ladder… go up and 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," observed the bench.

At this juncture, ASG Singh sought to distinguish the role of the CBI director from the other nine officers in the chain and the court then deemed it appropriate to summon the chief in person.

Representing the PIL petitioner, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves then again pressed his demand for setting up a special investigation team (SIT).

"CBI was supposed to file 41 FIRs by January 31 under the orders of this court. Only 27 FIRs filed till date and 14 are still realising. Appoint a SIT because they are not interested. CBI has been effectively telling this court that orders are not practical and that they cannot comply with them," contended Gonsalves.

The bench is currently monitoring investigation by CBI against armed forces personnel, accused of killing people in Manipur in fake encounters.

The court had earlier declared that there cannot be absolute immunity to armed forces personnel despite AFSPA and that all those guilty of mercilessly killing people in fake encounters must be brought to book.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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