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Supreme Court stays CBI investigations into Hari Masjid firing case

Saturday, September 05, 2009, News Desk

Farooque Mapkar

CBI still to record residents’ statements in Hari Masjid case: The CBI under instructions of the Mumbai High Court has been investigating the Hari Masjid incident of the 92-93 riots for more than six months now. Yet, they have not found time to record the statements of those living near.... Read Full

Malegaon: The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) investigating into the Hari Masjid Firing case stopped the probe Tuesday after they learnt from the Special Task Force that the Supreme Court has ordered a stay.


"We learnt from the STF in Mumbai that the Supreme Court has stayed our investigation into the Hari Masjid incident", a leading Mumbai daily quoted the CBI officers handling the inquiry as saying on Wednesday.


According to the report published in Mumbai Mirror Thursday, the CBI which had already recorded the statements of 51 witnesses in the Hari Masjid case, took down statements of three more witnesses on Monday.

The Special Task Force was set up in 2000 by then home minister Chhagan Bhujbal to act on the Srikrishna Commission Report into the 1992-93 Mumbai riots. It was headed by K P Raghuvanshi, now the ATS chief, and comprised handpicked policemen from all over the state.

Though part of the Crime Branch, the team was supposed to be free from the influence of the Mumbai Police, 31 of whose men had been indicted by the Srikrishna Commission.

It was these same STF men who exonerated PSI Nikhil Kapse, who had been indicted by the Srikrishna Commission for the unprovoked firing at unarmed namazis in Hari Masjid during the riots. The firing killed six, four of them inside the masjid. Justice B N Srikrishna had also described Kapses conduct as brutal and inhuman.

The STF, in their inquiry into Kapses conduct, did not speak to a single victim who had deposed before the Srikrishna Commission about the incident. The government lawyer revealed to the High Court that the STF spoke only to the policemen involved in the incident, before concluding that Kapse was just doing his duty. The court was then hearing the petition filed by Farooq Mapkar, one of Kapses victims, asking that the CBI take over the inquiry. The High Court ordered the CBI to do so in February this year. Kapse was charged under Section 302 by the CBI soon after, but has yet to be arrested.

So was it the STF that prodded the State Government to appeal against the High Courts order.

Senior lawyers Yusuf Muchhala and Vijay Pradhan, who had argued the petition in the High Court, said they were taken aback by this unheard of move .

The State Government had issued a notification asking the CBI to take over the investigation last year. It was a party to the decision. How could it then appeal against the High Court order they asked.

Interestingly, the CBI told the High Court a fortnight ago that one of the reasons for its slow progress in the inquiry was the fact that the Mumbai Police and the Home Department had not provided the documents it had asked for. Obviously, they knew about the appeal in the Supreme Court and were waiting for the outcome.

When contacted, Minister of State for Home Naseem Khan said he was in a meeting. Incidentally, Khan was the first person to approach the Supreme Court way back in 1998, asking that the Srikrishna Commission Report be implemented.
















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