Alok Kumar Verma, the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), faced the wrath of the Supreme Court on Monday for the agency’s failure to arrest the accused in alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur.
Insurgency-hit Manipur has witnessed a number of allegations of extra-judicial killings by the army, Assam Rifles and the police in Manipur. The top court, which is hearing a petition seeking investigation into 1,528 cases, had asked the agency to file chargesheet in four cases that allegedly involved the army and the Assam Rifles.
But with the agency failing to file the chargesheet by the due date – July 27 – the CBI chief was asked to give an explanation on Monday.
“According to you, there are 14 murderers in these cases and they loafing around Manipur freely? You haven’t arrested any of them?” enquired the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit.
CBI’s explanation that two chargesheets have been filed and five more will follow in August could not satisfy the Apex Court. “The CBI filed FIRs against dead persons who are victims. This is unbelievable,” the court said.
When Verma explained that the agency was going by the book and sticking to the lengthy procedure of filing chargesheet in such cases, the court ordered that the layers of scrutiny process be cut down from seven to two.
More than 1,500 people in Manipur are believed to have been killed in questionable encounters over the last three decades.