HC directs state govt to reconstitute SIT to probe Pinch’s death

ITANAGAR, Feb 25: The Gauhati High Court (HC) Itanagar Permanent Bench has directed the Arunachal Pradesh Government to constitute an SIT consisting of a police officer not below the rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) and two members at the rank of Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) to investigate and unearth the truth behind the entire incident leading to the death of former MLA Ngurang Pinch.
While hearing the anticipatory bail applications of both former Ministers Atum Welly and Tatar Kipa together [AB 16 (AP) 2018 and AB 21 (AP) 2018], the Court of Justice Songkhupchung Serto in its judgment on 21 February ordered the state government that the SIT should be constituted within a period of 10 days from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order and the same should be communicated to this Court immediately.
Lashing out at the state government for slow pace of investigation into the death case, the court said, ‘More than three months have passed by since the incident took place. One would have expected that the investigation team, by now, should have come out with the truth about the cause of the death of the deceased’.
The court further said that since the deceased was a public leader and was an elected Member of the State Legislative Assembly, the investigation team is expected of giving their best to reach to the bottom of the truth and unearth the cause(s) which led to the unfortunate death of late Ngurang Pinch.
‘This Court cannot turn a blind-eye on the incident and ignore how the investigation is being conducted, especially when most of the persons whose names are involved, including the deceased, are important people in the society. The state government should have, in fact, tried its best to find out the truth about the incident. But it appears that enough has not been done to clear all doubts surrounding the unfortunate incident. This Court is of the view that the SIT led by the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) is not strong and competent enough to investigate such a case.’
Regarding the anticipatory bail applications of two accused/ applicants on health ground, the court said ‘since the learned Additional PP Arunachal Pradesh has stated that so far nothing incriminating has been found against them, and since the applicants have come on medical grounds, and keeping in view the fact that they are deeply rooted in the society, and also taking into account the fact that other co-accused have been either granted regular bail or anticipatory bail, their prayer for anticipatory bail cannot be rejected.’
‘Therefore, the prayers of the two applications are allowed by the court with terms and conditions’, it said, adding that if arrested in connection with the First Information Report case, they should be released on bail on furnishing a PR bond of Rs 2,00,000 each, with a surety bond, each, of the like amount to the satisfaction of the arresting authority. They should cooperate with the investigation in any manner as may be directed by the SIT and should not leave station without prior permission of the investigating authority.
‘With the above directions, the prayers in the two bail applications stands disposed of’, the Court added.
Former MLA Pinch was found dead under mysterious circumstances on 18 November last year.
Both the accused/ applicants have applied for anticipatory bail for the second time.