The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan to tender an unconditional apology for his alleged remarks on the Bulandshahr gangrape case. The top court had on Tuesday asked Khan to come clear on his alleged statement against an incident of gangrape near Bulandshahr highway in UP. The court had given Khan time until November 17 to file his affidavit and observed, “It is a democratic principle that a public servant should not comment on the investigation of crime if it is not related to him.”
Jurist Fali S Nariman, the court-appointed amicus curiae, asserted that Khan’s statement will “necessarily influence” the investigation and requires the apex court to resort to an “innovative” approach to tackle the issue.
Expressing displeasure at Khan’s failure to appear in the case despite being served court notices, a bench led by Justice Dipak Misra directed the minister to file a counter-affidavit stating his stand on the affidavit — whether he had called the gangrape of a woman and her minor daughter a “political conspiracy”.
Appearing for Khan, senior advocate Kapil Sibal refuted that the Samajwadi Party leader made any statement that could influence the investigation, which has been handed over to the CBI. As Sibal said that the mouth of politicians cannot be shut, the bench questioned whether he had made the impugned statement despite not being connected with the crime in question.
“No. I have not commented on the investigation,” Sibal replied, but the court said that although that could be a “good way” of saying it, the bench would want his stand on an affidavit explaining whether he called the incident a “political conspiracy”.
The incident took place on July 29, when a family from Noida was stopped on the highway near Bulandshahr by an armed gang. The woman and her 14-year-old daughter were reportedly dragged to the fields and gangraped. The teen, through her father, moved the Supreme Court seeking Khan’s prosecution for allegedly remarking that the rape was a political conspiracy to defame the Samajwadi Party-led government in UP.