Vikas Dubey killing: Petitions say even chairman of inquiry commission has ‘conflict of interest’

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New Delhi: The high-powered inquiry commission set up by the Supreme Court to investigate the ‘encounter’ killing of gangster Vikas Dubey seems full of members with “conflict of interest”, if petitions to completely overhaul the composition of the commission are to be believed. Even the chairman of the commission, retired Supreme Court judge BS Chauhan seems to have a “conflict of interest.”

The first objection was against former DGP KL Gupta, dismissed by the court, and yesterday there has been an objection to Justice BS Chauhan too. Justice Chauhan is to lead the three-member commission which starts work soon. While the allegation against Gupta was “bias”, quoting media comments he had made, giving a clean chit to the police, the objection against the judge, brought by Advocate Ghanshyam Upadhyay, is about two of his immediate/close relatives, his brother and ‘samandhi’ being legislators with the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) which runs the government in Uttar Pradesh.

On July 22, the Apex Court had approved the Uttar Pradesh draft notification for appointing Justice Chauhan as the chairman of the three-member inquiry commission to probe into the killing. The inquiry commission will also probe the killing of eight policemen, allegedly by the Dubey gang and the subsequent encounter of the gangster and five of his purported associates.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde and also including Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian, had directed that the inquiry commission should start functioning within a week and the probe be concluded within two months.

The apex court had passed the order while hearing a batch of petitions which sought a court-monitored probe into encounters of Dubey and five of his alleged associates.

Dubey was killed in an encounter in the morning of 10 July when a police vehicle carrying him from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to Kanpur met with an accident and he tried to escape from the spot in Bhauti area, the police had said.

Later, On July 28, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition which had sought removal of Ex DGP KL Gupta from the inquiry commission for his ‘biased media statement’. The CJI had said “we cannot change this person like this because of the apprehension. You are only looking at one part of it. There is an SC Judge BS Chauhan and the HC Judge also on the panel. The inquiry commission will not be vitiated because of one officer.”

In between, on July 31, a new petition has been filed by Advocate Upadhyay seeking directions to scrap the inquiry commission and issue contempt proceedings against state functionaries for allegedly suppressing true facts about the members of the commission. The new petition filed by Upadhyay makes the allegation against Justice Chauhan’s inclusion. As regards the Gupta, the petition alleges that he is related with the IG of the Kanpur Zone, Mohit Agarwal, where the alleged encounter took place. The plea contends that “aforesaid two members of the judicial commissions are disqualified from being part of the commission on account of conflict of interest and bias or likelihood of bias on their part.”

Meanwhile, another PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court which is under defect, by Advocates seeking direction to Uttar Pradesh government for initiation of Departmental Inquiry and removal or transfer of Awanish Kumar Awasthi, the Additional Chief Secretary Home, State of UP and Amitabh Yash, Inspector General of UP Police who are, as revealed by media reports, have closed nexus with the gangster Vikas Dubey and his aides.

According to the petitioners, Awanish Kumar Awasthi, had a nexus with gangster Dubey and his aides, especially his Accountant Jai Vajpayee and should be removed or transferred to insure fair investigation and facilitate the judicial inquiry commission to reach the truth without any obstruction.

They have also requested for the removal or transfer of Amitabh Yash, Inspector General of the police, state of UP since the STF which is responsible for the fake encounter of Vikas Dubey, was being governed by him and it is amply clear from the media reports all across the country that the STF wrongly and illegally carried out the encounter of Vikas Dubey flouting all the legal norms without following the Rule of Law.

The petitioners have contended that going by the media reports, at the behest of and by the illegal official direction of these two authorities, the properties of Vikas Dubey and other things related to Vikas Dubey are being destroyed, which are important pieces of evidence related to the case which would help the judicial inquiry commission constituted by the Apex Court.

“Though it cannot be denied that the act of the accused of killing eight policemen is extremely heinous crime, yet the accused were/are required to be dealt with in accordance of law and in the process, upon their guilt being proved after full-fledged trial, they could have been convicted even for death sentence, however, under no circumstance, law enforcing agencies were/ are having right to completely pull down/demolish the residential building, shopping mall of the deceased accused Vikas Dubey and so all his expensive cars/vehicles and various other movable/immovable properties with the help of bulldozer, JCB, poclain machines and kill the accused in the name of encounter,” said the plea.

According to the petitioners, such an instant removal or transfer of these higher authorities is required in the interest of justice and to ensure the prevalence of rule of law, so that the judicial inquiry commission could fish out the truth and present the same before this Hon’ble Court.

– India Legal Bureau

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