SC restrains riots probe team | delhi | Hindustan Times
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SC restrains riots probe team

Setting aside a Gujarat High Court verdict, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots cases will not have the right to interrogate the accused in custody.

delhi Updated: May 20, 2009 00:02 IST
HT Correspondent

Setting aside a Gujarat High Court verdict, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots cases will not have the right to interrogate the accused in custody.

The Gujarat High Court had allowed interrogation of Mithabhai Pashabhai Patel and five other accused allegedly involved in riots at Vadvasa Patia village near Prantij in the state.

A bench headed by Justice S.B. Sinha said the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) did not provide for such a method. “…the SIT has already submitted its report to this court. Nothing has been pointed out before us as to why even the bail granted to the appellants should be cancelled so as to enable us to consider that question independently, ” it added.

The order is likely to affect the probe, as it will now deprive the SIT of the right to interrogate the accused in custody, a tool often used by investigators to crack a case.

Noted jurist Shanti Bhushan said: “The judgment is absolutely right. Article 20 of the Constitution guarantees ‘right to silence’ to the accused. …What do the police do? They arrest the accused and torture them in isolation to force them to admit to the crime. The SIT can interrogate them but not in custody.”