LUCKNOW: Picking up the threads from the last hearing into Hathras rape and murder case, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court on Monday expressed anguish over the fact that the state government was yet to take action against the district magistrate Praveen Kumar Luxkar to ensure fairness of probe and justice.
Notably, on the last hearing in the case on October 12, the court had asked the state government as to why it suspended Hathras Superintendent of Police Vikrant Vir for allegedly rushing with the cremation of the body of 19-year-old victim in the dead of night even without the consent of the family and didn't take any action against the DM concerned when the decision of cremation was taken jointly.
Responding to the court’s query on Monday, the state government assured the double judge bench comprising Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajan Roy, to take decision in his regard by November 25.
Besides the bench also directed the CBI which is probing the case, to lay the status of investigation into the matter before it on the next date.
It may be recalled that the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court had taken a suo-motu cognizance of the case, especially the issue of cremation of the victim girl.
While conducting in-camera proceedings, the bench asked the state government as to what decision was taken about the DM in view of the previous direction. At this, the state defended the DM saying that he did not do any wrong.
“The SP too was suspended owing to lack of proper handling of ‘probe’ into the alleged gang rape case and not over the cremation issue,” state government said.
At this, the bench said that on last date it had asked the state if it was just to retain the DM in Hathras for the purpose of impartiality and transparency.
Reminding previous hearing to the state government, the bench said that to that, the state had assured it to do the needful in DM’s matter to address its concern.
Earlier, apart from the state government, DM Pravin Kumar and the then SP Vikrant Vir filed their respective affidavits in the court. Additional Advocate general VK Sahi apprised the bench that the state’s affidavit contained a draft of the guidelines to be followed in Hathras like situation so far as cremation was concerned.
In their affidavits, both the DM and then SP repeated their stand that the decision to cremate the victim’s body in night was taken keeping in view the situation then in bona-fide manner. They also refuted the allegations in their affidavits that kerosene was used in the cremation.
At the time of hearing, ADG Law and Order, Prashant Kumar and home secretary Tarun Gaba, remained present in the court.
In course of hearing, the court also asked CBI counsel Anurag Singh to furnish the status of probe by next date.
The state authorities also apprised the court that the compensation amount was transferred to the bank account of the victim’s father. It was also informed to the bench that the family was provided security by CRPF.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Siddhartha Luthara appeared for the accused and requested the court not to make any observation in its orders that may affect the investigation.
Meanwhile, the victim’s lawyer Seema Kushwaha reiterated the demand to transfer the trial out of UP Central government’s assistant solicitor general SP Raju and amicus curie JN Mathur also appeared to address the bench.