The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a petition seeking further inquiry into the murder of former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya.
Pandya was found murdered in Ahmedabad in 2003. The CBI had investigated the murder, after which the trial court had convicted the 12 accused. Their conviction was, however, reversed by the Gujarat High Court, and all 12 were acquitted.
On Tuesday, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Sharan asked the petitioner, NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigations (CPIL), what was the need for a fresh petition when a criminal appeal against acquittal of the accused by the Gujarat High Court was already pending before it.
Appearing for the NGO, senior advocate Shanti Bhushan and advocate Prashant Bhushan said the fresh petition was necessitated as there were new developments in the matter including the statement by a witness, Azam Khan, in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case before a Mumbai court.
They said Khan was produced as a state witness in the case and his statement, which touched on the Pandya murder, was an important development in the matter, and the court must order an independent inquiry on its basis.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the statement seemed to be the outcome of some “unseen hand” trying to revive an issue which had already been settled by courts, and added that Khan, who had a criminal past, seemed to be helping them.
He pointed out that the demand for further inquiry had already been considered by the court in the past, and dismissed.
He added that “he (Khan) was just planting the seeds for someone else to reap”.