Justice Shah refuses to head Guj encounters probe

Former Supreme Court judge MB Shah had been entrusted with the task to look into the alleged fake encounters between 2002 to 2006 in Gujarat.

Ahmedabad: Former Supreme Court judge MB
Shah, who had been entrusted with the task to look into
the alleged fake encounters between 2002 to 2006 in Gujarat,
has informed the apex court that he cannot head the inquiry
as he is already "overburdened" with other probes.

In a letter written to the apex court, Justice Shah
has conveyed his inability to head the inquiry in the alleged
fake encounters between 2002 to 2006, saying he is already in
two commissions and cannot give time for the third inquiry.

"Yes, I have written a letter to the Supreme Court,
informing about my inability to take up the job," Justice Shah
told PTI.

"I have said that I am already looking after two
Commissions, one of which is inquiring in the mining scam of
Karnataka, which is very big one, while another one has been
appointed by the Gujarat state government to inquire into
allegations of corruption," Justice Shah said.

"That is the main reason why I have shown my inability
to take up the inquiry. I have told the court to consider (the
name of) some other judge for the inquiry," he said.

In April last year, Gujarat government had appointed
Shah to monitor the investigation into the killings after
there were allegations that encounters purportedly showed a
pattern that people from the minority community were targeted
as terrorists.

"Having regard to the fact that a monitoring authority
has been put in place and a former judge of this court is its
chairman, we desire the chairman (Shah) to look into all
instances of the alleged fake encounters mentioned in the two
writ petitions," Supreme Court had said last month.

"We want the investigation to be thorough, so that the
truth in each case is revealed," a bench comprising justices
Aftab Alam and CK Prasad had said and asked Shah to place
before it the preliminary report on the issue within three

The order was passed by the Supreme Court in response
to PILs filed by veteran journalist BG Verghese and
poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar seeking a direction for a probe
by an independent agency or CBI so that the "truth may come

The bench had further said that it will be open for
the chairman of the monitoring authority to constitute an
independent team either with officer from Gujarat Special Task
Force (STF) or from outside "considering the sensitivity of
the matter" as some senior officers of the state police force
have been accused of killing people in fake encounters.