The Supreme Court on Monday expressed anger at selective leaks to the media with regard to the Special Investigating Team (SIT) probe in Gujarat riots cases.
A bench, headed by Justice D.K. Jain, got upset when senior advocate Gopal Subramanium claimed another public prosecutor had written to the SIT to transfer the trial outside Gujarat. A public prosecutor has already resigned alleging lack of cooperation from the SIT and the trial judge.
When Subramanium said he learnt about the letter through media reports, the bench said, “What we feel is that something is happening behind the scene. If he has disclosed to the media then he has no business being a public prosecutor. Whatever happens between the SIT and the public prosecutor, the press comes to know. It is very unfortunate. But we will not go by the media reports.”
The bench also told Subramanium that it would take up SIT’s application urging the court to reconsider its earlier direction to drop Gujarat-cadre IPS officers Geeta Johri and Shivanand Jha from the probe.
Counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Gujarat government, objected to Subramaniam’s submission that the SIT plea was improper. He objected to the ‘Centre’s interest’ in the case, saying, “The Centre is not a privity to the case. So, how is it interested?” He said, the state, which was a party to the case, was unaware of any plea by the public prosecutor.
The bench also said it would consider police officer Shivanand Jha’s request to hear him before he was formally removed from the SIT. “We did not seek your consent when we appointed you. Should we seek your order before passing the order (removal)?” the bench snapped at Jha’s counsel Vikas Singh.
The bench granted three days’ time to NGOs to respond to Gujarat’s allegations that they made false claims on the riots.