NEW DELHI: Dissatisfied with the ongoing probe by the UP Police special investigation team into the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, the Supreme Court Monday said it must be be monitored by a retired high court judge from another state to infuse “impartiality, independence and fairness”.
Indicating the SC would no longer monitor the probe that “is not going the way we expected”, CJI N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli suggested two names — Justices Ranjit Singh and Rakesh Kumar Jain, both former judges of the Punjab and Haryana HC — and asked the UP government to choose one to be appointed for monitoring the investigation till filing of separate chargesheets in three incidents: the mowing down of four farmers, lynching of three political workers accused in the first incident and the murder of a journalist.
Appearing for the UP government, Harish Salve assured the court the appointment would be done and approval would be conveyed to it by Friday, the date of next hearing.
When a widow of a man allegedly lynched by the crowd sought CBI investigation claiming that state police too was involved in the lynching, the bench said, “CBI is not the solution to every problem. We are being careful. We are not going to give the case to the CBI. We want to protect the evidence that has been collected.”
“Let some independent judge monitor (the investigations) till the chargesheets are filed. Monitoring is required because in the case of death of an innocent journalist, the cause of death was different from what was sought to be projected. We do not want to add any political overtones to the incident. Let an independent retired judge monitor. We need not hear the matter and monitor everything. We are taking care that proper investigation takes place into the incident without bias. For that reason we are thinking of monitoring by a retired judge, so that without any bias, the investigation can be completed… We are trying to infuse some independence, impartiality and fairness into the investigation,” the bench said.
Right at the beginning of the hearing after a gap of 10 days, the bench said, “We have seen the status report. There is nothing in that status report except saying some more witnesses have been examined. That’s all. We had granted 10 days’ time to the state. Even the forensic lab reports have not come.”
When Salve said that the lab reports will come on November 15 and that it was beyond the control of the SIT, which has been following up regularly, the CJI-led bench said, “It (the investigation) is not going the way we expected. What about the other issues? Only (main accused in farmers’ murder case) Ashish Mishra’s phone has been seized. What about the other 12 arrested accused? You have not seized their phones or other electronic equipment from them.”

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