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CBI deems investigation unfeasible in decades-old ‘encounter killings’

The CBI submitted before the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it would be an exercise and futility resulting in wastage of manpower and government machinery

CBI deems investigation unfeasible in decades-old ‘encounter killings’

In its reply placed before the Bench Acting Chief Justice Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerji, the CBI submitted that it would be an exercise and futility resulting in wastage of manpower and government machinery. Tribune file



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, May 9

Just about three months after the CBI was put on notice on a petition seeking probe and “wider investigation” into approximately 6,733 “encounter killings, custodial deaths and illegal cremations of bodies” from 1984 to 1995, the premier investigation agency on Thursday submitted before the Punjab and Haryana High Court that initiation of investigations was not feasible.

In its reply placed before the Bench Acting Chief Justice Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerji, the CBI submitted that it would be an exercise and futility resulting in wastage of manpower and government machinery.

It said criminal investigation in these matters would not deliver the desired outcome due to paucity of prosecutable evidence in view of the fact that the incidents were over three decades old, the non-availability of eye witnesses, difficulty in recalling the facts of the incident by the witnesses due to loss of memory over a period of time and the weeding out of original record pertaining to police files, hospitals and crematoria.

“A thought could be given by the court to the impact and necessity of raking up of old wounds, which scarred an entire community. This is not to deny that families were traumatized and lives upended with the loss of often the sole breadwinner of the family. Many would be entitled to compensation which is conditioned on the available of death certificate,” it added.

The petition was filed in 2019 by Punjab Documentation and Advocacy Project (PDAP) and other petitioners through senior counsel Rajvinder Singh Bains.

The petitioner submitted that the Punjab Police and the security forces abducted the victims, killed them, burnt their bodies as being “unclaimed and unidentified in secret and documented cremations and by other means, including throwing the bodies in rivers and canals”.

The petitioner added the persons extra-judicially executed were cremated without informing their kin and handing over their bodies for last rites.

“The present petition identifies many of these victims through the FIRs and cremation records,” the petitioner submitted, while praying for independent and effective investigation into these killings, besides “a diligent prosecution of those involved in the murders and the subsequent cover-ups”.

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#Central Bureau of Investigation CBI #Custodial Death #human rights


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