SC asks UP to respond to Azam's sting operation

SC asks UP to respond to Azam's sting operation

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the state government to respond to a sting operation purportedly showing the alleged role of an Uttar Pradesh minister in Muzaffarnagar riots for directing policemen to release some of the accused.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice P Sathasivam took note of the plea made by a bunch of petitioners for a probe by special investigation team (SIT) into the riots as well as the sting operation telecast by different channels putting UP Minister Azam Khan in the dock.

“You (state government counsel) have to respond to them separately as these are serious allegations,” the court told senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing the UP government. Senior advocate Bhim Singh, appearing for the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) which had filed a PIL in the matter, referred to the sting operations showing two senior police officers then posted in Muzaffarnagar admitting that they deliberately did not act as per Khan’s instructions.

The police officers were shown telling reporters that they were told to release men initially arrested by them after the trouble started. Davan, on his part, pointed out that the Uttar Pradesh legislature had formed a committee to probe the sting operation. “But all that is not be pre-empt any decision by this court,” he added.

Meanwhile, the bench, also comprising Justices Ranjana P Desai and Ranjan Gogoi, pulled up advocate Mohd Naushad, one of PIL petitioners, for visiting the riot-hit area allegedly claiming before the public that he was making on the spot assessment as part of eight-member SC-appointed committee.