The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has filed two chargesheets in connection with the alleged fake encounters by the Indian Army, Assam Rifles and the police in Manipur, PTI reported.
The Supreme Court reprimanded the agency over its handling of the case, NDTV reported. “According to you, there are 14 murderers in these cases and they are loafing around Manipur freely?” the court said. “You have not arrested any of them? The CBI filed FIRs against dead persons who are victims. This is unbelievable.”
The top court asked the agency’s director Alok Kumar Verma to appoint 12 more officers to assist in the Special Investigation Team to expedite the filing of chargesheets. The CBI said it will file five more chargesheets in the matter by August end.
On July 27, the Supreme Court criticised the investigating agency over its slow pace of inquiry into the alleged fake encounters. The top court directed the investigating agency’s director to appear before it on July 30 to explain why its order to file a chargesheet in the alleged fake encounter cases was not complied with.
Earlier this month, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit had directed the CBI to file final reports in four fake encounter cases.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who was appearing for the agency in the matter, had told the Supreme Court that there was no deliberate delay on part of the CBI, and that it was in the process of vetting the chargesheet which was taking some time.
In 2012, the Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association had submitted a petition to the Supreme Court, alleging that there were 1,528 extra-judicial killings in Manipur between 1979 and 2012 but that action had not been taken against the personnel involved. In 2013, a commission appointed by the Supreme Court found that security forces resorted to firing based on inputs without cross-checking the authenticity of the source of the information.
In a landmark judgement in July 2017, the Supreme Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to set up a special team of five officers to look into cases of alleged extra-judicial killings in the state.
On July 4, after the CBI failed to meet the latest deadline, two United Nations experts condemned the lack of progress and said they were “extremely concerned that the delay appears to be deliberate, undue and unreasonable”.