The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions finds itself, once again, in the spotlight. The independence of Roshan Santokhee, the DPP assistant, is called into question after his participation in a political event of the Militant Socialist Movement in constituency no. 6 (Grand-Baie/Poudre-d'Or).

Roshan Santokhee's participation in a political event last month, in Fond-du-Sac, as part of a lunch intended for seniors, is striking in more than one way. Firstly because he is a civil servant. The law is clear on this subject: no state officer is authorized to display his political color. But not only. What is especially problematic is that he is the Assistant in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

This case raises questions given the constitutional conflict between the DPP's office and the police commissioner. There is also the complaint filed in 2015 against the State in which the office of the DPP contests its placement under supervision by that of the Attorney General. The very presence of Roshan Santokhee at this event could be perceived as a breach of his duty of reserve and impartiality. Which is all the more worrying given the tensions that prevail between the different branches of government.

This point was not lost on Shakeel Mohamed, who officially denounced the presence of Roshan Santokhee at this political event at which the Minister of Arts and Cultural Heritage, Avinash Teeluck, was also present. “I would have liked Roshan Santokhee, who is a good friend of mine, to come and tell us which side he leans more on in the battle between the state and the DPP office,” says the Labor Party (PTr) MP. .

Shakeel Mohamed recently had the opportunity to cross swords with Roshan Santokhee who was serving as representative of the DPP's office in the case relating to drug trafficking allegations against Bruneau Laurette. He noted, on several occasions, the determination of the Assistant DPP to oppose his arguments each time he questioned the government and the Prime Minister.

“Every time I tried to address the role of government or the executive in what happened to Bruneau Laurette as an ongoing political activist and pointed out that he is a victim of the executive, there were firm, constant and passionate objections from Roshan Santokhee,” adds Shakeel Mohamed.

The PTr MP also questions the role of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) in this matter. “As soon as this happened, the JLSC should have acted with speed and discretion to avoid embarrassing the judiciary as well as the DPP’s office. The JLSC's failure to act quickly created a situation ripe for speculation. There should never be speculation about such institutions. It’s a self-inflicted wound, in my opinion,” he maintains.

The former opposition leader also points the finger at the MSM. According to him, this political group has, once again, demonstrated that it does not care at all about respect for institutions. “If the MSM had any respect for institutions, it would never have invited a representative from the DPP office to a political event,” he says.

What about the individual responsibility of Roshan Santokhee who, in his soul and conscience, agreed to participate? To this question, Shakeel Mohamed seems to give him the benefit of the doubt, saying that the latter probably does not have the necessary experience and that he may have confused social work and politics. “You don’t stand next to a minister when you do social work,” underlines the red deputy.

Le Défi Quotidien interviewed former judge Vinod Boolell about this case. For him, there is no doubt that anyone working in the DPP office and dealing with sensitive issues on a daily basis must imperatively maintain independence from the political class.

He also spoke about the role of the JLSC in this matter. “When there is a situation like this, the JLSC, which is an emanation of the Constitution and which includes the Chief Justice, cannot take decisions lightly. She must study the problem before making a decision. Perhaps Shakeel Mohamed was the catalyst. But it is bad that the commission did not seek to act. We must accept that the commission is independent,” concluded Vinod Boolell.

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