Objecting to the sharing of Justice H S Bedi’s report on 17 police encounters in Gujarat with the petitioners, a Gujarat Police officer had told the Supreme Court that “strangers can’t be permitted to analyse the evidence gathered during a criminal investigation by supplying them with the reports”.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, however, directed the Gujarat government to hand over the report’s copy to the petitioners. Deputy Superintendent of Police J M Bharwad, who was investigated by the Supreme Court appointed-Special Task Force (STF) in one of the 17 encounters, in an affidavit to the court said that if the petitioners were given the copies of the report, “it would result into a position where strangers would be debating about the possibility of guilt or otherwise of police officers, including the present”.
Bharwad was probed by the STF officers for his alleged role in the death of one Kasim Jafer Hussain whose family had accused that he was killed in police custody. Hussain’s alleged custodial death is among the 17 cases probed by the STF that was monitored by retired justice Bedi.
Bharwad, who is currently Deputy SP, Jetpur, has claimed that he moved the court as “there is a likelihood of the applicant (Bharwad) and many other honest police officers being affected by the orders which may be passed in the present petitions that are absolutely motivated and nothing but abuse of process of law”.
Stating that he moved the affidavit in his official capacity, Bharwad said that the petitions have been under the “garb” of public interest litigation (PIL) filed by “complete strangers to the situation prevailing in the state like the state of Gujarat that has the longest coastline with Pakistan… and a direct land route to Pakistan through district of Kutch”.
Bharwad claimed that “none of the petitioners are aware about infiltration of various terrorist/criminal conduits in Gujarat, inter alia due to geographical proximity with the neighbouring country”.
The officer also questioned why the petitioners “restricted public interest only with respect to encounters having taken place in one state in the entire country while abusing the august forum of this court under the garb of public interest litigation”.
In his affidavit, the officer has said that the petitioners never attempted to solve “this mystery as to why their conscience is selectively moved for one state, and that too with regard to the alleged encounters between 2003 to 2006.”