The Supreme Court Thursday reserved its order on Maharashtra government’s plea challenging the Bombay High Court order that set aside grant of more time to police to complete probe against five accused arrested for alleged Maoist links in the Elgaar Parishad case.
The High Court had on October 24 set aside an order of a Pune trial court granting 90 more days to police to finish the probe against Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut.
The Pune court allowed the relief on September 2 under Section 43-D (2)(b) of UAPA which says that 90 days more may be granted to the investigators if it was not possible to complete the probe in the initial 90 days. Gadling and others challenged this in high court, saying that as per the law, an application seeking such extension should to be filed by the Public Prosecutor but the application in Pune court was filed by the Investigating Officer. The high court then stayed the trial court order.
Challenging this, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the state government, told a bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices L Nageswara Rao and S K Kaul that the Investigating Officer’s application had been signed by the Public Prosecutor and this showed independent application of mind by the Prosecutor. He said two applications were moved — one by the Public Prosecutor and the other by the Investigating Officer — on August 30, 2018.
Justice Rao asked if the application, as required under the law, had stated the progress of the investigation and need for continued detention of the accused. Rohatgi replied in the affirmative and added, “This is now a pan-India investigation. I (police) now have to conduct investigation in different parts of India and certain arrests.”
Senior Advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the accused, said the application was by the Investigating Officer and this was not what the law envisaged.