The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a batch of writ petitions praying for a direction to the government to register murder cases against police personnel in Chennai involved in an “encounter”, which led to the death of five bank robbers.
“The petitioners, completely third parties to the entire incident and the very complaints, wherein investigation is in full swing, cannot be permitted to poke their noses into the investigation under the grab of public interest writ petitions, that too without any material and knowledge about the same, except hearsay and media reports,” a division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan observed.
The bench was dismissing a batch of PILs from advocate P Pugalenthi and four others.
In a daylight robbery, Rs19 lakh was looted from Bank of Baroda’s branch in Perungudi by five persons on January 23, 2012. Similarly, Indian Overseas Bank branch in Keelkattalai was robbed of Rs 14 lakh. Police had registered cases under various sections of the IPC and the Indian Arms Act.
Following a tip off, the police surrounded the house of Chandrika Rai, Harish Kumar, Vinay Prasad and Vinay Kumar of Bihar and Abhay Kumar of West Bengal in the night of February 23, 2012 and shot them to death. The PILs were filed following this.
The bench observed that the petitioners had filed the petitions just based on hearsay evidence and media reports, which could not take the place of substantive proof. As the death of the accused happened during the course of probe, the enquiry conducted by the Magistrate under Sec 176(1-A) of the CrPC was valid under law. The authorities had strictly complied with the mandate of law by resorting to enquiry by the Magistrate and the State government had swiftly acted in transferring the investigation to the CB-CID in compliance of the guidelines issued by National Human Rights Commission.
The report of the Magistrate and the CB-CID nowhere suggested anything against the version of the police that it was only a police action, the bench said and dismissed the petitions.