Rohtak: Two days after Punjab and Haryana High Court hinted at a CBI probe into criminal cases registered in the wake of the violence during the Jat reservation stir in February, the premier agency, on Saturday, expressed its inability to investigate the cases.
CBI counsel Sumeet Goel informed the high court that investigation of cases at such a large scale couldn't be conducted by the agency because of inadequate infrastructure and shortage of manpower.
Responding to the court notice, CBI’s special prosecutor Sumeet Goel submitted before a division bench comprising Justices S S Saron and Lisa Gill, “As the volume of FIRs is too large, we do not have infrastructure or manpower to probe the matter.” On the other hand, the Haryana government’s proposal for constituting a committee headed by the Chief Secretary and its members including Additional Chief Secretary (Home), DGP and Advocate General for periodically monitoring probe and find out lacunae did not cut any ice with the court as amicus curiae Anupam Gupta submitted that retired DGP Prakash Singh panel’s report had already pointed fingers on top officers.
However, observing that the court was also left in a situation as to what to do, the division bench granted the state government counsel time till October 21 to come out with a solution.
Appearing for the Haryana government, Additional Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, submitted that the state government would also hand over probe to CBI in Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu’s brother, Satyapal Sindhu’s case wherein his properties and business worth Rs 15 crore was reduced to ashes at Rohtak.
Mehta submitted that earlier three FIRs pertaining to arson and damage to properties of Abhimanyu and others were handed over to CBI since the Rohtak police had hinted at a “criminal conspiracy at the political level, involving political opponents”. He added that any kind of action by the local police could have been seen as an act of political vendetta.
Also, Haryana’s Additional Advocate General Pawan Girdhar faced flak over a ‘wrong’ statement in the court in an earlier hearing of the case – that out of a total of eight accused named in Sindhu’s case, three had been arrested. It was revealed that the Rohtak police had failed to arrest even a single accused till date.
Amid heated exchange of arguments between Mehta and Gupta on Saturday, Gupta submitted, “there had been complete failure of justice” and the FIR was being handed over to CBI as the finance minister’s brother had approached the court.
The court also took a serious view of the Haryana government’s submissions that when jurisdictional magistrates were looking into cases, criticism of investigation and supervising probe by the High Court “may not be in the interest of justice”. Pulling up the state government, Justice Saron remarked, “We are not going to buckle down.” Stating that the court’s only intention was to get the cases investigated in a transparent manner, the court made it clear if the state was aggrieved, it could approach the Supreme Court.