A week after Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal announced a commission to look into the Moga horror that killed a girl thrown off a bus from his family-owned Orbit fleet, the terms of reference are still to be notified.
Last Tuesday, the CM made retired justice VK Bali head of the inquiry commission and called for a report to the state government within two months. The onus on drafting the terms of reference, which will define what aspects the one-man commission will look into, has been fixed on the transport department, even though the matter is criminal.
The department will specify the terms of reference after getting them approved from the competent authority, says a one-page notification that principal secretary (home) Jagpal Singh Sandhu issued on May 8. “It is for the transport department to decide, we have written to it in the notification,” Jagpal told HT, when asked what the commission would look into, if the police had already registered a murder case.
Principal secretary (transport) Anurag Aggarwal said he had received the notification copy from the home department “only yesterday”. “We are yet to decide,” he said, on being asked about the transport department’s concerns in drafting the parameters. He said he would reply to the home department after deciding the terms that were there to set.
Dept in a fix
The transport department is already in a fix about what to submit in the Punjab and Haryana high court, which wants to know the number of buses owned by Orbit Aviation and state-run Punjab Roadways and PEPSU Road Transport Corporation.
The reply is important in the context of the route and the identity of the bus involved in the Moga incident. Already, the route is not mentioned in the FIR (first-information report).
Gaps in FIR
In the Moga bus case, the police arrested two of the four accused in the night intervening April 29 and 30, but didn’t write their names in the FIR registered, later, on April 30. Two other accused were caught the next day.
Asked to comment, Baghapurana station house officer (SHO) Avtar Singh said the FIR was based on the statement of the victim’s mother “and she didn’t know the names of the attackers”. “All four accused are in the judicial custody, while the police investigation is also on,” said the SHO, to explain why it’s taking more time to file of the charge sheet.