Chennai: On the night of May 21, 1991 when a human bomb blew up former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally in Sriperumbudur, among those injured was IPS officer Prateep Philip, then ASP in Kancheepuram. When the CBI’s Special Investigation Team collected evidence from the blast site, among other things it picked up was Philip’s bloodstained cap and name badge, which were marked as “material objects number 38 and 39” in the records of the trial court.
Since then the two items have been lying in the custody of the court. Sentimentally attached to his personal belongings, the IPS officer moved the First Additional Sessions Court stating that he wanted to wear them on Thursday, the day of his retirement after putting in 34 years of service.
A team of lawyers including Sanjay Pinto, Akhil Bhansali and Vidya Pinto represented him and argued that the trial court had delivered its judgement in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case in January 1998 and the following year the Supreme Court too delivered its verdict. They said the CBI, which investigated the case, cannot have any objection to the petitioner’s legitimate and emotional plea for the return of the cap and name badge. The two objects “symbolise his blood, sweat and tears” over 34 years of his career.
Hearing the petition, the First Additional Sessions Judge T Chandrasekaran noted that presently the CBI’s Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) is conducting a probe into the Action Taken Report on the final report of the Jain Commission of Inquiry, This MDMA probe is in a crucial stage and the cap and badge have become a matter of importance for the police and may be needed for a supplementary final report.
The petitioner’s lawyers cited various Supreme Court rulings in support of their arguments. Consequently, the judge passed an order allowing the “interim” return of the bloodstained cap and name badge to Prateep Philip on execution of an own bond for Rs 1 lakh. He said post-retirement, Prateep Philip must return the cap and name badge to the court on or before October 28.
On Thursday, Prateep Philip retired as DGP (Training) with Director General of Police Sylendra Babu giving him a warm farewell.
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