New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday accepted an “unconditional apology” tendered by controversial Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan in connection with his alleged remark in the sensational Bulandshahr gangrape case, saying he has expressed “sincere and heartful remorse”.
“Respondent No 2 (Azam Khan) has given an unconditional apology and has expressed his sincere and heartful remorse,” the bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy said after the senior Samajwadi Party leader filed a fresh affidavit tendering apology following objections raised by the Attorney General to his earlier one.
The bench, which accepted Khan’s new affidavit tendering unconditional apology, made it clear that no further arguments on behalf of Azam will be entertained further in the matter.
However, the bench said that the questions framed by it earlier regarding the Freedom of Speech and Expression and probable impact of statements of those holding high offices on free and fair probe in heinous cases including rape and molestation are required to be debated and posted the matter for hearing on February 8, next year.
On December 7, the apex court observed that the apology tendered by the UP minister earlier for his alleged remarks on the Bulandshahr gang rape case does not appear to be “unconditional”.
The brutal incident had happened on the night of July 29 when a group of highway robbers stopped the car of a Noida- based family and sexually assaulted a woman and her daughter after dragging them out of the vehicle at gun-point.
The apex court had on August 29 taken note of the alleged controversial remarks of Khan that the gang rape case was a “political conspiracy”.
On November 17, the apex court had directed Khan to tender “unconditional apology” for his alleged remarks in the matter while seeking assistance of the Attorney General in dealing with the issue of statements made by persons holding public office in such cases.
Sibal had earlier said that though Khan had not said anything attributed to him against the victims in the case, but if the father of the victim felt “insulted or offended” in any manner then Khan was willing to apologise.
The court has said it would deliberate upon the questions framed by it earlier regarding the freedom of speech and expression and probable impact of statements of those holding high offices on free and fair probe in heinous cases including rape and molestation.
The man, whose wife and daughter were gangraped in July on a highway in Bulandshahr, had on August 13 moved the apex court seeking transfer of the case to Delhi, besides lodging of an FIR against Khan as well as several policemen. The Allahabad High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the incident, besides deciding to monitor the investigation.