The Centre has told the Supreme Court it has no objection to post-Godhra riots cases being handed over to the CBI and shifted out of Gujarat.
In an affidavit filed in response to a petition by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Union Home Ministry said: “The central government submits it would have no objection to the investigation of the cases by the Central Bureau of Investigation and transfer outside the state of Gujarat as sought by the petitioner.”
The Gujarat government has been opposing the plea on the ground that it would amount to questioning the impartiality of the judicial system in the state.
The NHRC and activist Teesta Setalvad have sought transfer of 13 cases related to the Gujarat riots. The petitions are pending before the Supreme Court since November 2003.
Witness protection plan
In another case, the Supreme Court asked the Centre if it planned to amend the Criminal Procedure Code to protect witnesses.
Hearing a PIL asking the Centre to come out with a witness protection programme, a bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said: “If you have a proper scheme, then the number of hostile witnesses would decrease.” Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramanium said it was not possible to provide protection to witnesses in all criminal cases because of the large number of pending cases.
Faced with the increasing trend of witnesses turning hostile in high-profile murder cases, Country First, an NGO, had filed the petition.
Moga sex scandal case
The CBI told the apex court that some Punjab police officials involved in the Moga sex scandal were engaged in “extortion”, after trapping innocent people.
The case came to light last November after the arrest of two women under the Immoral Trafficking Act. A probe found the two, in connivance with police officials, politicians, journalists and businessmen, were allegedly indulging in extortion by threatening “innocent” people.
With PTI inputs