Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday directed the Delhi chief secretary to issue a show cause notice to the public prosecutor who "skipped" hearings in the journalist Soumya Vishwanathan case, while asserting the government will ensure appointment of a good lawyer in his place.
A day after the bereaved parents of the television journalist, who was shot dead more than 10 years ago, knocked at the door of the chief minister, seeking speedy trial and justice, Kejriwal expressed shock that the public prosecutor was skipping the hearings and directed CS Vijay Kumar Dev to issue them show cause notice.
The Delhi government in a statement said Kejriwal has taken a "strong exception" to the complaints of the journalist's parents about the public prosecutor's absence from the hearings in the Vishwanathan case.
"The chief minister has noted that it is 'absolutely shocking' and directed the chief secretary to immediately issue a show cause notice to the public prosecutor who has skipped hearings and not taken the duty seriously," the statement said.
The chief minister has directed the home department to take all necessary steps in the case.
"It has been brought to my notice and the government will ensure appointment of a good lawyer as special public prosecutor in this case. Show cause notice will be issued to the concerned PP responsible for any negligence," the statement quoted Kejriwal as saying.
Later in the day, the AAP dispensation issued a statement, saying that Delhi government has consistently stood by the victims' families and has ensured appointment of lawyers according to the choice of such families in criminal cases.
The government adopts a policy of zero tolerance in such serious matters and any negligence of duty will be "sternly dealt" with, it stated.
"Families who lose their near and dear ones due to heinous crimes are shattered for no fault of theirs and cannot be put to any further hardship due to a callous and negligent attitude," the statement read.
In a letter to the CM, Soumya's father, M K Vishwanathan, had said he and his family were tired of the "hollow assurances" from authorities, and expressed hope from a "concrete response" from him.
Five people were arrested in 2009 on the charges of murder and are presently in custody. The trial in the case is going on in Delhi's Saket district court for the last 10 years.
"We are seriously concerned about both, the pace at which the trial is moving as well as the quality of efforts being put in the proceedings by the prosecution.
"Hollow assurances from authorities have tired us out and we sincerely hope for a concrete response from you at the earliest," her father had stated in the letter.
He had said the recent change in the "public prosecutor has raised our concerns as he, once again, was absent from the court on the date of the last hearing (Feb 2)".
Unlike the first prosecutor on the case, the current and the previous public prosecutors have been "unresponsive" in giving any updates to his family on the progress in the case, M K Vishwanathan said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)