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Manipur staged gunfights: SC wants officers named in FIR

 NEW DELHI, April 16 - Supreme Court on Monday directed CBI’s SIT to file a supplementary FIR naming the officers involved in the alleged extra-judicial killings and staged gunfights by the Army, Assam Rifles and Police in Manipur.A bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice UU Lalit asked the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to file the supplementary FIR in the existing FIRs which will include the name of officers or commanding officers of the units, and told the NHRC to also assist the team.

The top court said the judicial inquiries and the Gauhati High Court’s findings have named the commanding officer of the unit of the Assam battalion (involved in the alleged shooting) or the officer who shot “but these personnel have not been named in the FIR”.

The SIT should file a supplementary FIR naming the personnel involved, it said.

The court was hearing a PIL seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur.

The court’s direction came after advocate Menaka Guruswamy, the amicus curiae assisting the court in the matter, said that 11 FIRs were registered in March but none named any Army, Assam Rifles or Manipur police personnel despite their being specifically named in the judicial inquiries’ reports and the High Court’s findings.

These 11 FIRs were registered on the basis of judicial inquiries and cases in which the Gauhati High Court had given its findings.

Taking note of the submissions of Guruswamy that FIRs were registered against “unknown personnel”, the bench said that going by the records of the judicial inquiries, the High Court’s order and witnesses “there is not just the name of offending unit but also the officer under whose command it was done”.

The apex court said if the SIT doesn’t name the personnel in the FIR, “who are you going to question tomorrow”?

The bench, which had asked National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to depute three persons with the SIT to carry out investigations in 13 of the 42 cases, said: “We would like NHRC to get involved in other cases too.”

The ASG also told the bench that the FIRs lodged against the victims will be cancelled. On February 12, the court slammed the SIT for not properly probing the issue and asked why FIRs were lodged against the victims and not against the officers.

The court then posted the matter for May 11.

On July 14, 2017, the apex court set up the SIT comprising five CBI officers and ordered registration of FIRs and investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur.

The court had ordered the registration of FIRs in 81 cases including 32 probed by a Commission of Inquiry, 32 investigated by judicial authorities, 11 in which compensation was awarded and six probed by the Commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde. – IANS

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