NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday approved Uttar Pradesh government's draft notification for appointing former apex court judge Justice (retd) BS Chauhan as chairman of the 3-member inquiry commission on the killing of eight policemen and the subsequent encounter killings of gangster Vikas Dubey and five of his alleged associates.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde directed that the inquiry commission should start functioning within a week and the probe be concluded within two months. The other two members of the inquiry commission would be - former HC judge Justice (retd) Shashi Kant Agarwal and retired Uttar Pradesh DGP KL Gupta.
The bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, cleared the draft notification and asked the Uttar Pradesh government to notify it. The top court directed the Centre to provide secretarial assistance to the inquiry committee and said that assistance be provided either by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) or any other central agency.
The bench said the inquiry commission will submit its report to the apex court as well the state government under the Commission of Inquiry Act. The apex court said scope of investigation to be conducted by the inquiry commission should be wide enough.
The bench said the top court is not in favour of "tying the hands" of the commission and it will not be wise to have a term of reference for it. It said the commission will have to inquire into incidents of killing of eight policemen and subsequent encounters killings of Dubey and his alleged associates.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Uttar Pradesh, informed the bench Justice (retd) Chauhan has given his consent to be a part of the inquiry commission. Mehta told the bench that the commission would also probe the circumstances under which Dubey, who was facing 65 FIRs, was released on bail.
The apex court was hearing a batch of petitions which have sought court-monitored probe into the encounters of Dubey and five of his alleged associates.
Some of the pleas have also sought probe into the killing of eight policemen, including DSP Devendra Mishra, who were ambushed in Bikru village in Chaubeypur area of Kanpur when they were going to arrest Dubey and fell to bullets fired from rooftops shortly after midnight on July 3.
Dubey was killed in an encounter in the morning of July 10 when a police vehicle carrying him from Ujjain to Kanpur met with an accident and he tried to escape from the spot in Bhauti area, the police had said.
Prior to Dubey's encounter, five of his alleged associated were killed in separate encounters. On June 20, the apex court had said that it is a "failure of the institution" that a person like Dubey got bail despite several cases lodged against him.
It had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to consider having a former apex court judge and a retired police officer in the inquiry committee probing the encounter. It had told the state government that they have to "uphold rule of law".
It had suggested changes in the inquiry panel and sought a draft resolution from the state government by today.
The Uttar Pradesh government, in an affidavit filed in the apex court in the matter, has said that it has appointed a judicial panel of Justice (retd) Shashi Kant Agarwal, a former high court judge, as a single member commission of inquiry to probe into the encounters of Dubey and his alleged associates.
The affidavit had said that the police party escorting Dubey from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to Kanpur had to "fire back in self-defence" as he had tried to escape and was killed.
The UP government also constituted a 3-member SIT, headed by UP additional chief secretary Sanjay Bhoosreddy on July 11, to look into the crimes committed by the dreaded gangster and the alleged collusion between Dubey, police and politicians, the affidavit has said.