Mah Govt decides to handover Hari Masjid case to CBI

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Mumbai, Oct 10 (UNI) The Maharashtra government today informed the Bombay High Court that it has decided to handover the Hari Masjid police firing case, pertaining to communal riots in Mumbai in January 1993, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Public Prosecutor Satish Borulkar handed over a state government letter to the court, in which it had conveyed a message about the transfer of case to CBI. However, Adv Vijay Pradhan, counsel of petitioner Farook Mohammed Kasim Mapkar, raised an objection and said the state government should come out with a full-fledged notification in this regard, as such a letter would not suffice.

When the public prosecutor pointed out that the issue, pertaining to acting on the recommendations of Justice Srikrishna Commission Report, was under consideration of the Supreme Court, Adv Pradhan contended that the apex court has taken up larger issue involved in the matter and that it would not go into the merits or demerits of the case.

But the division bench comprising justices R M S Khandeparkar and V K Tahilramani felt that it would not be appropriate for it to take up the issue, which has been pending before the Supreme Court and adjourned the hearing into the matter till November 20.

Today, the public prosecutor again reiterated that the incident was reinvestigated by the Special Task Force, which was constituted specifically for further investigation and action, if necessary, on possible offences cited by the Commission. The STF has observed that there was nothing wrong in the Hari Masjid police firing.

Showing its displeasure over the stand taken by the state, the bench observed that the incident dates back to 1993, which was enquired by a sitting High Court judge and the report of the Commission provides prima facie material (for initiating action against the erring cops), and it remarked that if such was the state's stand, then henceforth it should not expect any High Court or Supreme Court judge to head such enquiry commissions.

The state government has already refused to initiate prosecution against policemen involved in the police firing, in which seven people were killed and as many injured, saying that no criminal case could be registered against the police party, led by then sub-inspector of police Nikhil Kapse, who had allegedly opened fire on 'namazis' assembled in the Hari Masjid on January 10, 1993.

Referring to Hari Masjid police firing, Justice Srikrishna Commission, in its report, observed that ''The police version of the story was totally unbelievable and fabricated and that PSI Kapse -- presently working with the economic offences wing of the Mumbai Police -- not only suppressed facts but also fabricated records regarding the incident.'' Based on this observation of the Commission, Mr Mapkar moved the High Court, seeking criminal prosecution of Kapse and other policemen involved in the firing.

UNI

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