Submit report in 60 days, court tells SIT

Hyderabad HC ruled that the SIT should not consult official of the government without the court's permission
Hyderabad: The Hyderabad high court on Tuesday declared that the Special Investigation Team constituted by the AP government to probe into the Seshachalam encounter killings would carry out the investigation directly under the court’s supervision. The court directed the SIT to complete its investigation within 60 days from Tuesday and submit a final report before it. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar, while dealing with petitions seeking a CBI probe into the encounter by the Special Task Force in which 20 woodcutters from Tamil Nadu were killed on April 7, ruled that the SIT should not consult any secretary or official of the government without the court’s permission.
After perusing the case diary submitted by the government with regard to the investigation, the bench noticed that before issuing the FIR, the investigation officer had obtained the opinion of the public prosecutor.The bench stated that as per the provisions of the CrPC, once information is received about a cognisable offence, the station house officer concerned has to register the case and proceed with the investigation, and obtaining the PP’s opinion at that stage was not called for.
The bench directed the SIT to immediately take charge of the FIR and case diaries and carry out its probe and informed that the PP should be kept away from the investigation. If needed, the SIT could ask the government to appoint a special public prosecutor for this case at a later stage.V. Raghunath, counsel for the Civil Liberties Committee, submitted that inspector-general of police Dr Ravi Shankar Ayyanar, who is heading the SIT, is known as an encounter specialist.
He said that Chandrasekhar, the SHO of Chandragiri police station, under whose jurisdiction the encounter took place, had been made a member of the SIT.Counsel from Chennai, Balu, who was appearing for Muniammal, wife of a slain woodcutter, also opposed to continuing with Chandrasekhar as member of the SIT. Reacting to submissions of the petitioners’ counsels, the bench made it clear that unless it received material proving that the investigation was biased, it would not take a decision either to remove or scrap the SIT at this stage.
( Source : dc correspondent )
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