NHRC seeks Centre's consent on CBI probe in Gujarat sting Operation

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New Delhi, Apr 1 (UNI) Severely criticising the Gujarat Government for refusing a CBI probe in establishing the authenticity of tapes used in a sting operation in October on post-Godhra riots, NHRC has disputed the contention as ''untenable'' and ''misplaced'' and sought the Centre's consent on the investigation.

The Commission said since the CBI investigation was being sought under the provisions of Section 14 of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the state Government's concurrence was not required.

The Commission said the concurrence of the State Government was requested as a matter of ''courtesy only''.

''The State Government has some reservations on the aspect of jurisdiction of the Commission. The objections regarding jurisdiction have been found to be untenable and misplaced.

Therefore, the decision to direct a CBI investigation is hereby reiterated,'' it added.

The Centre has been asked to communicate its stand on the investigation within four weeks and expressed the hope that the State will render cooperation for the probe.

NHRC took suo-motu cognizance of the programme-- "Operation Kalank" -- telecast by 'Aaj Tak' on October 25, 2007 and had directed a CBI investigation to establish the authenticity of the tapes.

It had advised the Gujarat government to communicate its consent for the investigation to the Centre and the Commission within two weeks.

In its reply, the Gujarat Government had submitted that ''the aspects under consideration of the Commission are very much in seisin before the Justice Nanavati and Justice Shah Commission''.

''No investigation by an agency like CBI into the alleged exposure by the telecast of 'Operation Kalank' is necessary in-as-much as in respect of various incidents and offences reflected in the said telecast, necessary actions have already been taken and the trials are pending,'' the state Government had contended.

State Government's consent is required in a CBI probe while investigating criminal offences under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.

Pointing out that CBI is an investigation agency of the Central Government, NHRC said only Centre's consent was required for the CBI probe and it was not legally bound to obtain the concurrence of the Gujarat Government.

''While making investigation u/s 14 of the Act CBI works under the direction of NHRC and it exercises limited powers enumerated in Subsection 2 of Section 14,'' it added.

The sting operation included confessions of some people who were implicated and also many state functionaries of Gujarat in unleashing violence on the minority community.

UNI NR MSJ HS1557

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