SC halts probe against top cop Satish Verma
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The Supreme Court today ordered an interim stay on the investigation into senior IPS officer Satish Verma's reported role in three alleged custodial death cases in Porbandar in 1996-97.
With this, a Bench of Justices H L Gokhale and Ranjana P Desai put a temporary stop to the implementation of an April 18, 2012 order by the Gujarat High Court to Additional Director General of Police (Law & Order) Shivanand Jha to conduct the probe and submit a report to the court within three months.
The apex court also issued notice to Hiralal Shial, whose brother was one of the three alleged victims. Verma was posted as the district superintendent of police at Porbandar then.
Shial's brother Jasu Gagan Shial and one Aher Ranmal Ram were reportedly killed in police encounters, while Aher Narayan Jesti Bandhiya was found hanging on a tree near a police station. Bandhiya was on police remand, and the police claimed he had escaped custody and committed suicide.
The incident reached the courts as early as in 1997 when an NGO — Action Committee for Prevention of Police Atrocities — filed a PIL in the High Court. It had sought an investigation by the CBI into the incident involving Verma.
Shial submitted in the Gujarat HC that the inquiry had gathered dust over the past 14 years. The state government even owned up in court that documents related to the cases and inquiry report have gone missing.
Incidentally, Verma was appointed as a member of SIT to probe the Ishrat Jahan encounter case by the HC.
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