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Panchkula violence: Why no probe into cash-vans-movement confession, HC asks Haryana police

Hearing: Court reacts after dera IT cell head quoted that 2 cash vans were driven out of sect headquarters on Aug 26.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2018 12:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Panchkula violence,Haryana police,Dera Sacha Sauda
Police teams had sanitised the dera on September 7 last year.(HT File)

Taking a serious note of the ‘shoddy probe’ by the Haryana Police into a statement by Dera Sacha Sauda information technology (IT) cell head that two vans of cash were driven out of the sect headquarters, the Punjab and Haryana high court questioned the cops as to why they did not carry out further probe on his disclosure.

A portion of the statement was read out by the high court full bench of justice Surya Kant during the hearing on Tuesday. Dera IT cell head Vineet Kumar had stated that a day after the Panchkula violence on August 25 following the conviction of dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, two vans of cash were taken out of the dera by one Balraj Singh.

However, it transpired that neither Kumar was quizzed to give more details nor Singh was questioned on his statement. “You (police) dumped it? Or someone else has taken?” the court asked the state police. Earlier, it had come to light that only Rs 65 lakh was found in the dera, after it was raided by the police. These two vans as per statement were taken out on August 26, while the police teams sanitized the dera on September 7.

The court also questioned the police as to what was the reason behind the destruction of 65 hard discs by the dera. “What did they fear about?,” the court asked as officials present did not have satisfactory reply. The high court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) related to the violence in which more than 35 persons died in Panchkula alone.

After Ram Rahim’s arrest, Dera Sacha Sauda dies a slow death

Later, the court sought status report on both these aspects by March 21 and warned that if at any stage it is not satisfied with the probe it will have to hand over it to some other agency and record the reason for doing so.

“This is also to keep intact the people’s faith in the police and law and order machinery,” the bench said, asking the special investigation team of the police to examine the statements of different accused through custodial interrogation, whenever required.

Haryana advocate general BR Mahajan assured the court that the police will leave no stone unturned in bringing out the truth. He said of 243 FIRs registered in connection with the violence, challan has been presented in 203 cases. He further said CBI’s help has been sought to help state police in retrieving the data. Mahajan also informed that a total of 1,434 persons have been arrested so far and 164 accused are still at large.

‘Shall we ask Punjab police to trace Aditya Insan’

The high court also questioned the Haryana police as to how Aditya Insan, who is named as chief conspirator in the violence has vanished.

The court also directed court commissioner, AKS Panwar, a retired district and sessions judge to submit a supplementary report on his findings of sanitization exercise, which he held in September 2017.

“Do we ask Punjab police to find him out?” the court said, adding that he was not a hardened criminal. Aditya Insan carries an award of Rs 5 lakh. The government informed that to arrest Aditya Insan, award money has been increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

Aditya, an ophthalmologist, has been the most visible face of the dera for the last 20 years. He has been booked under sedition charge, non-bailable offence and can lead to life imprisonment. He vanished immediately after the violence was reported.

‘Give details of missing persons’

The court also asked Haryana to give details about people who went missing from the dera. The advocate general informed the high court that out of total 25 complaints of missing persons was received out of which eight have been traced. These complaints were received after the violence. Many of the complaiants had alleged they apprehended murder of their wards. However, the court asked to give details on the next date of hearing as to how many people are dead, those who were found and in what condition they were traced.

Court commissioner told to file supplementary report

The court also directed court commissioner, AKS Panwar, a retired district and sessions judge to submit a supplementary report on his findings of sanitization exercise, which he held in September 2017. Earlier, he had told court that he was unclear about his mandate. But court said that he was to record his observations based on what was recovered and what he saw there while presiding over sanitization exercise.

Senior advocate, Anupam Gupta submitted that the former judicial officer failed in his duties. “Had it (the report) been submitted by a police of civic administration official, court’s response would have been different,” he said. The court gave him two weeks to submit a report. Gupta is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the case.

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 12:17 IST