In its submission to Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow Bench, which is hearing a PIL on the alleged gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras, the Uttar Pradesh government has justified its decision of not transferring District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar, saying the demand for his transfer was made by political parties with an “oblique motive” to “exert pressure”.
The government had made the submission last Wednesday and it was made available on the High Court’s website this week.
UP government counsel S V Raju told the bench of Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajan Roy, “…the government decided not to transfer the District Magistrate for reasons that a political game is being played and the transfer of District Magistrate has been made a political issue by political parties with oblique motive so as to exert political pressure.”
“Secondly, he (Raju) submitted that there is no question of the District Magistrate tampering with the evidence relevant to the investigation. Thirdly, security of the family is now in the hands of the CRPF with which the state government and its authorities have no concern. Fourthly, the investigation itself is being conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation and here also the state government does not have any role,” the order stated.
“He (Raju) also attempted to justify the cremation of the victim in the night by narrating the facts and to contend that the District Magistrate did not commit any wrong in this regard,” the court said in its order.
In its earlier order on November 2, the court asked the state government’s counsel whether it was fair to allow the DM to continue at Hathras during pendency of the investigation.
It had said that during “illegal cremation” of the woman, the DM was in the thick of things. “Would it not be appropriate to shift him elsewhere during the pendency of these proceedings without there being any stigma attached to such an action… only to ensure fairness and transparency in the matter,” the court had said.
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