New Delhi: The Maharashtra police on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it has invoked murder charges against five Haryana police personnel involved in an allegedly staged shootout in Mumbai in which Sandeep Gadoli, an alleged Gurgaon based gangster, was killed.
The apex court was informed that Section 302 of the IPC along with other penal provisions, including conspiracy, have been invoked by altering the earlier penal provisions under which the Haryana police officials were booked.
Three other persons including a woman have also been booked under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code for their involvement in the encounter that took place last February.
"Mumbai SIT has come to conclusion that it (killing of Sandeep Gadoli) was a fake encounter and five Haryana Police officers and three private persons including a woman have been booked under Section 302 IPC," Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the apex court vacation bench comprising Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.
While recording the statement made by Rohatgi, the vacation bench said that the investigation by the SIT into the encounter would proceed in accordance with law.
However, the court directed the listing of the matter on July 13 as senior counsel Sanjay Parikh appeared for Kuldeep Singh -- brother of deceased Sandeep Gadoli -- and urged the court to order a probe by a judicial magistrate into the encounter. He pointed to the alleged involvement of an assistant commissioner of police in the matter.
Parikh told the court that the body of Sandeep Gadoli was still lying in the mortuary as his family was refusing to perform the last rites till a judicial probe was conducted. He told the court that once Gadoli's last rites were performed the judicial probe would become inconsequential.
Citing the guidelines issued in September 2014 by the apex court in the case of the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) versus State of Maharashtra and others in support of his plea, Parikh said an inquiry must be conducted into the death of a person during police action.
Countering the submission by Parikh, Attorney General Rohatgi told the court that a post-mortem was carried out, an inquest was conducted by a magistrate and there was nothing else left to be done under the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC).
Referring to Section 176 of the Cr.PC, Rohatgi said that it provides for an inquiry by a magistrate whose report would be sent to the judicial magistrate.
He wondered if a judicial magistrate were to conduct the inquiry would he give the inquiry report to himself.
The Attorney General had also told the court that the main plea of the petitioner Kuldeep Singh was the filing of a counter FIR against the Haryana police personnel and since the Mumbai police has itself invoked Section 302 IPC against them, there was nothing that remains to be addressed by the court.
He read out from a communication of May 26, 2016, sent to Nishant R. Katneshwarkar - a Maharashtra government advocate - by the Assistant Commissioner of Mumbai Police Avdhut S. Chavan saying that the SIT has found that Sandeep Gadoli was killed in a fake encounter.
The communication by ACP, Mumbai Police Crime Branch reads, "The investigation carried out so far disclosed that FIR lodged by the first informant PSI Yadav is false one. The alleged encounter found to be fake one. It is disclosed that the first informant and his four associates in conspiracy with three others have killed the accused and staged a fake encounter."
The May 26 communication by ACP Chavan further says, "In view of the above outcome, on 16/5/2016 the original sections 307, 353, 332 IPC r/w 3, 25, 27 Indian Arms Act have been altered as 302, 193, 182, 201, 34 r/w 120-B IPC r/w 3, 25, 27 (of) Arms Act,... The investigation in this case is in progress."
The alleged shootout with Sandeep Gadoli had taken place on February 7 at about 11 a.m. at Hotel Airport Metro - a hotel near the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.