High Court refuses CBI probe into illicit distillation - ECAS Punjab

High Court refuses CBI probe into illicit distillation

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Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 26

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has refused to order a CBI probe into the alleged "rampant distillation" of illicit liquor in Punjab, but has expressed confidence that fair and impartial investigations would be carried out by the state agencies.

The Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli also made it clear the police probe in the matter, in its opinion, could neither be dubbed as farce, nor fair at the current stage.

The Bench was hearing a petition filed in public interest by Tarsem Jodhan and another petitioner. Referring to five FIRs registered in different parts of the state between 2018 and this year, the petitioners' counsel submitted only petty labourers, workers and bootleggers were booked.

He added a racket of this magnitude required finances, infrastructure and logistic support at all levels, unviable without active connivance of district police officials and administration, besides patronage of local political leaders.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Palli asserted the petitioner's concern for the state and its subjects was undoubtedly appreciable. But it was also true the police authorities registered FIRs, made arrests and carried out recoveries after taking cognisance of incidents in different parts of the state. The Bench added the investigation was in progress. No cogent or conclusive material was placed before it, at least at this stage, on the basis of which it could form an opinion that the ongoing investigation was farce, misdirected by design or lacked credibility. The Bench, at the same time, clarified it was not recording its satisfaction or finding that the investigations were just, fair and credible. The question was, as such, kept open to be examined on merits if the situation so warranted at an appropriate stage.

The Bench also took note of state counsel's assurance that the petitioners' concerns would be duly examined and dealt with at the earliest. If necessary, suitable action would also be initiated.

"We are sanguine that fair and impartial investigations shall be carried out by the state agencies to provide credibility and instil confidence in the investigating process. The petition is accordingly disposed of in terms of the statement/undertaking submitted by the state counsel," the Bench concluded.

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/2RZaD7G

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