Bounty bluster, but probe stalled

UP gifts land to victims? families, yet to issue notification for CBI inquiry, report Sobhana K, Abhishek Bhalla and Aloke Tikku.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2007 06:17 IST

The Uttar Pradesh government believes in the healing powers of bounty. To a village haunted by visions of its murdered children, it has offered the balm of land. And what of the CBI probe into the Nithari killings? That is still tied in red tape.

On Monday, Amar Singh, leader of the Samajwadi Party, which is in power in the state, visited Nithari to distribute letters allotting plots of prime land to the families of victims who were allegedly killed by Moninder Singh Pandher and Surender Koli. What he did not reveal was that the Mulayam Singh Yadav government has still not issued a notification ordering a CBI probe into the murders. It has instead simply asked the Centre — through a letter — to go ahead and order the probe into the grisly serial killings as well as the murder of the Meerut lecturer Kavita Rani.

The catch: officials in Delhi indicate that the letter may not be of much use in the absence of the notification under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. A notification under this Act is needed for the Centre to process the request from the state government to seek a CBI inquiry. Amar Singh did confirm that the letter has been sent: “Our letter to the Centre says the state government has no objection if you order a CBI inquiry,” he told HT.

The CBI, however, comes under the administrative control of the department of personnel and training. The Centre cannot issue the notification ordering the CBI to investigate the cases without the state’s notification. A PTI report from Lucknow quoted UP home secretary, RM Srivastava, saying that the state government would issue the notification once the central government conveyed its acceptance. The notification, he added, was “ready with us”.

In Nithari, Amar Singh scoffed at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s claim that pressure from the central government forced Mulayam to order a CBI probe. “She should first instruct Congress CMs in Haryana and Maharasthra to probe serial killings in their states,” he thundered after distributing the allotment letters. Only 14 families were present to collect the letters, though 17 letters have been issued. The Noida Authority has allotted 26 square meter plots in sector 122 — prime land off the Greater Noida Expressway. The allotment comes with a rider. Noida Authority’s assistant CEO KR Naik made it clear the allotment will depend on the results of the DNA tests.

Given that the Mulayam Singh Yadav government has been under fire for the failure of its police force to unearth the Nithari killings, doesn’t the land allotment smack of damage control? No, said Singh. “I am not here to compensate for their death. I am here only to offer a small consolation to the bereaved families,” he said.

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First Published: Jan 09, 2007 06:17 IST