HYDERABAD: As the dust settles over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and the growing voices to take stringent action against the accused reverberates University of Hyderabad and elsewhere in the country, the Cyberabad police, which registered cases against Union minister of state for labour Bandaru Dattatreya, vice-chancellor Prof P Appa Rao and others, will now follow the next course of action -- ‘’Audi alteram partem’’, a Latin phrase meaning “listen to the other side.” (Other side means Dattatreya and accused).
Union minister Dattatreya and the VC Appa Rao are all set to be questioned by the Cyberabad police. But they are yet to decide whether the questioning will be oral (which means policemen will personally quiz the accused) or will they be asked to give their side of the story in writing. If sources are to be believed, at least the minister will be asked to give his version in writing.
Top sources associated with the investigation disclosed to Express that though the suicide note left behind by Rohith will be the most important piece of evidence, nowhere does the Dalit scholar mention the name of either Dattatreya, Appa Rao or others.
In fact, Rohith has mentioned that nobody was responsible for his death.
‘’Only investigation will bring out more facts but we will question all accused shortly. We will collate all evidence,’’ a senior police official said.
‘’In any investigation, we have to listen to the other side, without which the probe is incomplete. Once we have gathered all evidence, it will be evaluated and then we will proceed further,’’ sources said.
Cases were registered against Dattatreya, Appa Rao, MLC Ramachandra Rao, ABVP leader N Sushil Kumar, his brother N Diwakar and Krishna Chaitanya under Section 306 IPC and other relevant sections of SC/ST Prevention of Atroicities Act. Dattatreya had written a general letter about the activities in UoH and his letter nowhere mentions the name of Rohith Vemula. Normally in police investigations, if the name of a person is mentioned in the suicide note, then corroborative evidence too is looked at.
Another senior police official said that to question a Union minister, no permission is required. ‘Under Section 161 CrPC, police can question anyone including ministers. The need for permission arises when arrest has to be made,’’ he said.
Another aspect which investigators will look at is whether the minister was pursuing the matter with the HRD ministry, after writing his first letter, or did he just leave it at that. ‘’This will also be a key aspect. Though Rohith has not been singled out in minister’s letter, we will have to see whether the minister or his aides were pursuing the matter with HRD repeatedly.’’