CBI submits closure report of June 18 firing, finds no sufficient admissible evidence to prosecute CRPF

The final report mentions that there were two FIRs in connection with the 2001 incident.

 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has submitted the final report in connection with the alleged fake encounter of one Amom Rajen and 13 others, who were killed in police firing during the agitations against extension of Indo-NSCN (IM) Ceasefire Agreement in Manipur in 2001. 

Following the submission of the report before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West on October 1, the Court on Wednesday issued summons to EEVFAM, the petitioner, to contact families of the deceased for necessary hearing.

The final report mentioned that there were two FIRs in connection with the firing incident of June 18, 2001; one at City police station in connection with the firing at Southern Gate of Raj Bhawan and another at Imphal police station in connection with the firing at Chief Minister’s Bungalow complex. As the FIRs pertain to death of the same deceased, both FIRs have been clubbed.

During the investigation the SIT team had examined several records, evidences, findings and witnesses including victims and their relatives, important Government officials (police and magistrate), security personnel who were involved in the fire among others.

The CBI summing up the records and evidences available investigation submitted that on June 14, 2001 after the signing the ceasefire AMUCO called a 66 hours general strike from June 15 midnight. In response AMSU also joined the agitation by calling another general strike for 24 hours on June 17 till midnight of June 18.

In anticipation of the breach of peace and in order to avoid untoward incident, even before the cease fire agreement, prohibitory order under CrPC 144 was clamped on June 13, 7pm. However, the order of the district magistrate turned farce since the evening of June 17. On June 18, a huge number of people took to the streets to protest. Subsequently, curfew was imposed at 1 pm the same day, when the mob became uncontrollable and more violent, security forces at both Raj Bhawan and CM’s bungalow started firing to disperse the violent mob as a result some people died in the firing and many others were injured.

The CBI said as per several evidences with the state, the security forces resorted to firing as last resort with the violent nature of the mob to protect destruction of government properties and save lives. It said most of the inquiry reports and evidences said that trespassing and destroying properties at Raj Bhawan and CM’s bungalow but also other important government buildings, including Assembly, quarters of the legislators. Moreover, allegation was also reported that some protesters snatched weapons from the security personnel particularly at CM’s bungalow.

The CBI pointed out that commission, initiated by NHRC, found out that there are justifiable ground for opening fire by way of self-defence and by way of preventive action from committing the burning of CM bungalow and properties within the premises. The commission was of the opinion that if a round or two was not fired, to scare away the unruly mob, they would amount to abduction of duty.

Subsequently, it said that from the revelation of the witness nothing could be clearly concluded about the exact point, place where the dead bodies were found, the particular persons or security personnel who had fired at and the details of the bullet fired.

The agency said though most of the injured persons admitted that they were involved in the procession, they couldn’t specifically state exactly at what distance from the governor’s bungalow or the chief minister’s bungalow they were injured, by whose firing they got injured or those security persons were from which security forces among others. Some of the injured also said that they saw CRPF personnel firing on the mob. But, they couldn’t identify those CRPF personnel now. Most of them have denied they were not involved in destruction of government properties, said the CBI.

Moreover, some of the witnesses also stated that they saw police and other security personnel had tried to stop the mob by firing tear gas but they denied to retreat, added the CBI.

As many as 29 witnesses who were injured or relatives were examined by the CBI SIT team during their investigation.

The CBI report stated that the line of defense of the accused persons could not be rebutted as most of the relevant documents have been found untraceable or unavailable and no witness could confirm it as to exactly who had fired at whom and the overall circumstances was so volatile that the firing by the security personnel seemed to be unavoidable to save the government establishments and lives of those people inside there from worsening.

It reported that most of the vital records and witnesses could not be produced by local police/CRPF due to non-availability or weeding out of records and expiry of some of the witnesses, a span of almost two decades have lapsed.

“From the evidences (oral & documentary) collected during the investigation, it seems that the firing by the security personnel might not have been avoided in defence of the government properties and officials against the huge numbers of unruly, violent, agitating mob protesting against the ceasefire agreement though the deaths of some human beings have always been a sad and unwarranted incident,” the CBI report said.

“Therefore, in view of the facts and circumstances, sufficient admissible evidence has not come on record during investigation to launch prosecution against the alleged security personnel of CRPF,” it added.

Further, it is clear that in the instant case, the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is to be drawn could not be established during the course of the investigation, as per the requirement of law.

Hence, considering the facts and circumstances of the case coupled with the evidence adduced during the course of investigation, the CBI/SIT instant Closure Report (u/s. 173 Cr.PC) has been filed for want of evidence.

Under the direction of the Supreme Court of India, the CBI nominated a group of five officers and constituted SIT for investigating fake encounter cases in Manipur in response to the petition filed by EEVFAM

 

First Published:Oct. 8, 2020, 4:47 a.m.

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