The CBI’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) today told the Supreme Court that it had filed another charge sheet in connection with the alleged fake encounters by the Army, Assam Rifles and police in Manipur.
On July 30, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed the apex court that its had filed two charge sheets before the competent court in connection with the cases.
During the brief hearing today, a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit asked the SIT to file its next status report in the alleged fake encounter cases by September 1.
The bench said that it would hear the matter on September 4, along with a separate petition filed by over 300 Army personnel who have challenged the registration of FIRs against members of the armed forces for carrying out operations in Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir where the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is in force.
At the outset, the bench perused the status report filed by the SIT and observed, “one more charge sheet appears to have been filed”.
“That’s right,” Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench and said that a charge sheet has been filed in the case by the probe agency.
To this, the bench said that another case “is coming up for hearing on September 4. We will take it up on September 4”.
The bench also said that CBI director Alok Kumar Verma, who was present in the court, need not come on the next date of hearing.
An advocate, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter, referred to a media report and said that after the last date of hearing on July 30, the CBI spokesperson had issued a statement in which he had said that the SIT had not received relevant documents related to the cases from the armed forces.
“There is some disconnect in getting the documents. It is not clear as to how many FIRs are there against the armed forces,” the amicus said, adding that “cooperation is needed as far as handing over of documents are concerned”.
The Attorney General told the court that originally there were some issues regarding handing over of documents but now the CBI director has said that all the relevant documents have been received by the SIT.
The court had on July 30 said that the matter involved the issue of “life and death” of people and asked the CBI’s SIT to expeditiously complete its investigation into these cases.
The CBI had informed the court that 14 persons have been charge-sheeted in the first two cases for the alleged offences of murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence under the provisions of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The CBI director was earlier summoned by the apex court which was unhappy over the “unduly long time” taken by the SIT in probing the cases of alleged extra-judicial killings and fake encounters in Manipur.
The court, which is hearing a PIL seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur, had on July 14 last year constituted the SIT.