Activists’ arrest: CJI warns against ‘cooked-up’ proof

Material to be presented tomorrow
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said on Monday that the Supreme Court will set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) if the material relied on by the Maharashtra government to raid and arrest five activists on August 28 in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case is found to be “cooked up”.
A three-judge Bench, led by Justice Misra, said the court could not be expected to make up its mind without seeing the material evidence in the case.
‘CrPC violated’
“First of all, we must have a look at the material… If we see the material and find they are cooked up, we will definitely order the setting up of a SIT… The debate here has to be whether the Criminal Procedure Code was violated. Wherever this court has appointed SIT, there has been grave violation,” Justice Misra addressed the parties. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, for petitioners Romila Thapar and four others, said the arrests had been made on the basis of “cooked-up evidence” planted in the media by the police. “We do not go by what comes in the media… Besides, in every criminal case, the allegation is the evidence is cooked up. Both sides [petitioners and the State] can place their materials. We will see on Wednesday (September 19),” Chief Justice Misra observed in a high-voltage hearing. The Chief Justice said the court had primarily entertained the petition to protect the liberty of the five activists. “We have already done that. Our interim orders [to place them under house arrest at their respective homes] will continue,” Chief Justice Misra observed.
The five persons under house arrest are poet Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj, and activists Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha.
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