Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad
IPS officer Satish Verma has approached the Gujarat high court against an order to register an offence against him for seizing a hard disk from the Forensic Science Laboratory. Minister of state for home Praful Patel had issue the order.
While Verma was a member of special investigation team (SIT) probing the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, he along with SIT investigating officer V R Toliya, had seized a hard disk from the office of FSL’s assistant director B K Mistry. The disk allegedly contained photographs from the Ishrat encounter scene of June 2004 which had not ben provided to the SIT.
Following this, Mistry had filed a complaint against SIT officials. Joint commissioner of police and another SIT member Mohan Jha had ordered an inquiry into the incident. Verma has claimed that the seizure was done in legal fashion as part of the investigation.
On this complaint the HC bench had asked SIT chairman to conduct an inquiry and submit the report in sealed cover. The bench had commented that any complaint against SIT members should be placed before the HC only. The probe is being conducted by another IPS officer Rakesh Asthana. Verma has claimed in his affidavit before the court that the minister, during a meeting on March 5 last year, asked the DGP and IGP to register an offence against Verma. Following this, Ashtana intensified his inquiry and repeatedly summoned Mistry for questioning.
Verma claimed that the minister has got no locus standi to pass such an order. He has contended that when the HC ordered the SIT chairman to inquire into the issue, the state government could not have asked Asthana to probe. “It was clearly most improper and amounts to unauthorized interference in investigation being done by SIT and monitored by the HC,” the affidavit reads. Moreover, Verma also raised an issue of Asthana’s jurisdiction as a police officer, as he was posted as Vadodara’s CP then.
Verma also raised few questions as to why the government pleader or advocate general did not bring to the notice of the HC about the government setting up an inquiry overreaching the HC orders. He claimed that suppression of evidence by an expert witness is a graver issue than finding out who leaked out information to the probe agency and targeting the whistle-blower.
Verma has requested the court to get the inquiry being conducted by Asthana to be quashed and sought action against all those who are responsible in overreaching the court orders.
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