The Supreme Court on Monday took the Madhya Pradesh police to task, saying it seemed it had not examined the videos and photographs pertaining to the 2013 communal riots, triggered by an alleged rumour that a cow had been slaughtered.
“Who are the culprits? In charge sheets, you (Madhya Pradesh) say that you do not identify the persons as there were around 200 people in the mob… it seems that video CD has not been taken into consideration,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul said.
The bench then directed the Investigating Officer (IO), who had probed 12 FIRs lodged in connection with the riots that had taken place on September 9, 2013 in Kheda and Pahatgaon villages of Harda district, to appear before it on July 17, the next date of hearing.
The riots had taken place over an alleged case of cow slaughter and 54 persons had lost their houses and businesses.
Twelve FIRs were registered by police naming Surendra Singh Rajput alias Tiger as the main accused in all the cases.
The apex court, on February 17, had directed the state police “to place concerned charge-sheet, along with the translated version thereof, on the record of the case” within four weeks.
On perusal of the charge sheets, the court on Monday pointed out that they had not identified the culprits.
The court was hearing an appeal of activist Anurag Modi, filed through advocate Pyoli, against an order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case.
Modi had sought a probe against local BJP leader and former minister Kamal Patel and his son Sundip, alleging that they had instigated the riots with an eye on the assembly elections slated three months later.
The High Court had rejected the plea saying that the probe in the case was complete.
The appeal alleged that the riots were orchestrated by the Bajrang Dal, VHP and Goraksha Commando Force and that the then District Magistrate had named these organisations in his letter to Assistant Chief Secretary (Home) on September 20, 2013.
However, these organisations have not been named in any of the charge sheets filed in the case, it alleged.
“The entire incident was stage managed and well-planned, attempted to be portrayed as one of communal nature. In fact, the cow had died of choking of respiratory pipe and asphyxia caused by large amount polythene consumption … and 12 FIRs were registered initially, yet none included the name of Kamal Patel, sitting MLA of ruling BJP,” his son Sundip and his party members “who were main conspirators and instigators,” the plea alleged.
The petition has sought a CBI probe into the matter on the ground that the local police was hand-in-glove with the leader. It has also alleged that Surendra Singh Rajput, the key accused named in all 12 FIRs, was still absconding.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines