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Appeal against CBI probe rejected

J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday declined to interfere with a judgment of the Bombay High Court directing a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the Hari Masjid firing in Mumbai during the 1993 Mumbai riots.

A Bench comprising Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice A.R. Dave dismissed the appeal filed by the Maharashtra government challenging the 2008 judgment of the High Court.

It directed the CBI to complete the investigation within six months and submit a report to the competent court.

The court earlier stayed the implementation of the High Court order passed at the instance of petitioner Farooq Mohammed Qasim Mapkar and others who had sought an independent probe into the alleged police firing on people offering prayers at the Hari Masjid.

Six persons were killed in the incident which occurred during the riots that followed the Babri Masjid demolition.

“One-sided probe”

Writing the judgment, Justice Sathasivam said that according to the High Court, it was a one-sided investigation by the State police.

Further, the Justice Srikrishna Commission had prima facie indicted some police officers on the charge of committing serious offences.

“We do not find any error in the decision of the High Court in ordering the CBI investigation,” the Bench said.

‘Valid in law'

On the contention that the CBI probe was ordered without the State's consent, the Bench cited a Supreme Court Constitution Bench judgment which held that ordering a CBI probe without the State's consent “will neither impinge upon the federal structure of the Constitution nor violate the doctrine of separation of power, and shall be valid in law.”

On the State questioning the locus standi of the petitioner, the Bench said: “The respondent no. 1 [Farooq Mapkar] who is an affected person, coupled with the findings of the Justice Srikrishna Commission accepted by the State, we are of the view that it is an extraordinary case and we hold that respondent no. 1 is fully justified in approaching the High Court.”

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