New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said cannot look at one part of the statement and question the integrity as it junked pleas to remove former Uttar Pradesh DGP K.L. Gupta as a member of the inquiry commission set up to probe the Vikas Dubey encounter case.
The petitioners cited Gupta’s statements in the media supporting police action.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian told the petitioners there is a retired Supreme Court judge and High Court judge on the panel besides Gupta. “Why are you worried? Why are you casting aspersions on them? Do not do this” the Chief Justice told advocate Ghanshyam Upadhyay, one of the petitioners who moved the court seeking a court-monitored probe into the encounter of Dubey and his aides, and also sought reconstitution of the probe panel.
Upadhyay, citing news reports, contended that Gupta has already given a clean chit to the officers involved in the encounter in an interview. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the UP government, argued that Gupta had said let the inquiry happen, as a petition is there and the court will decide the matter.
The Chief Justice said that Gupta is not taking sides in the controversy. “We cannot change this person like this because of the apprehensions. You are only looking at one part of it”, the bench told the petitioner.
Upadhyay claimed Gupta has justified and supported the version of the police, and alleged that he is biased. The Chief Justice replied “What is your interest in having another officer appointed?” Another petitioner in the matter Anoop Awasthi submitted that he has also filed a plea to remove Gupta from the panel and cited his statements in the media.
The Chief Justice said, “In a trial also you first take the chargesheet and you accept it. Accepting does not mean you believe it. A right-minded person who reads the whole statement will not believe this man is biased.” After a hearing on the matter, the apex court dismissed the petitions.
On July 22, the apex court accepted the appointment of a three-member inquiry commission headed by former top court judge Justice B.S. Chauhan into the encounter killing of gangster Vikas Dubey, and asked the commission to submit its report within two months to the court and the Uttar Pradesh government.
“We direct that the notification constituting the Commission and incorporating the Terms of Reference as approved by us, shall be issued immediately. The Commission shall sit at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and start functioning within a period of one week from today,” said the bench also comprising Justices Bopanna and Ramasubramanian.
The other two members of the probe commission are retired judge of Allahabad High Court Justice Shashi Kant Agarwal and former Director General of Police K.L. Gupta.