The Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 dismissed review petitions filed against its judgment in the Haren Pandya murder case, by which it had set aside the Gujarat High Court's judgment acquitting twelve persons accused of the murder.
The order passed by the Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Vineeth Saran states,
"We have perused the Review Petitions and record of the appeals and are convinced that the order, of which review has been sought, does not suffer from any error apparent warranting its reconsideration.
The Review Petitions are, accordingly, dismissed."
Haren Pandya, who was Home Minister of Gujarat, was found shot dead inside his car on March 26, 2003.
The matter was initially investigated by the Gujarat Police. The probe was subsequently handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Fifteen people were arraigned as accused in the case. Another case concerning an attempt to murder VHP leader Jagdish Tiwari was also heard along with the Haren Pandya murder case, as both were alleged to be part of the same conspiracy.
In June 2007, a Special Court convicted the twelve accused for the murder of Pandya. They were also held guilty of attempting to murder Jagdish Tiwari.
On appeal, the Gujarat High Court overturned the verdict and acquitted all twelve accused of the charges of murder of Haren Pandya. The conviction for the attempt to murder Tiwari and possession of illegal arms was, however, upheld. The High Court also came down strongly upon the CBI for botching the investigation, terming it as "blinkered" and a waste of public resources and the Court’s time.
The CBI and the State of Gujarat then appealed before the Supreme Court. In July this year, the Court allowed the appeal and convicted the accused charged with the murder of the former Gujarat Minister.
NGO Centre for PIL also filed a petition in the matter before the Supreme Court seeking a fresh probe into the murder of Pandya. The NGO’s case was based on “some startling information" that came to light. Reliance was placed on the testimony of Azam Khan, one of the witnesses in another controversial case - the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.
However, the Bench did not take a favourable view of the petition, asking what the need for a PIL was when an appeal filed by the state was already pending. The PIL was later dismissed with costs of Rs 50,000.
Tags : #SupremeCourt #India #Murder #GujaratHighCourt