Azad not shot at from point-blank range: AP DGP

The Andhra Police tonight dismissed as "baseless" the allegations of civil rights groups that CPI (Maoist) Central Committee spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad was shot at from point blank range in a fake encounter.

Updated: Aug 29, 2010, 00:07 AM IST

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh Police tonight
dismissed as "baseless" the allegations of civil rights groups
that CPI (Maoist) Central Committee spokesperson Cherukuri
Rajkumar alias Azad was shot at from point blank range in a
fake encounter.

"There is absolutely nothing in the post mortem report to
indicate that the firing was resorted to at point-blank
range", state Director General of Police R R Girish Kumar said
in a statement here.

"There are absolutely no contradictions either in
post-mortem report or in the FIR. The post-mortem report is
being falsely misinterpreted by Naxal-backed civil rights
activists and its frontal organisations", he said.

"A section of vested interest groups at the behest of CPI
(Maoists) have been making false and baseless allegations
against police by misquoting the contents of the post-mortem
examination report and FIR," Kumar alleged.

The activists of frontal organizations of Maoists have
picked up only those words selectively from the post-mortem
report and FIR "which suit the requirement of their motivated
campaign", Kumar said.

"I would like to inform the members of the public that
this encounter between the police and Maoists is "real and
genuine undoubtedly,” the DGP said.

Azad and another person, claimed to be a journalist
Hemachandra Pandey, were killed in an exchange of fire with
police in the deep jungles in Adilabad district of Andhra
Pradesh on the intervening night of July 1 and 2.

Kumar said police followed NHRC guidelines in letter and
spirit and transparency was maintained at every stage of
police action and further investigation.

"The actions of police in every case of exchange of fire
are subject to scrutiny by statutory authorities at different
levels. In this present case also, the post-mortem examination
report and all the other evidence will be subjected to
scrutiny by competent judicial and quasi-judicial
authorities," he added.

A group of rights activists led by Supreme Court advocate
Prashant Bhushan had recently claimed it had evidence to show
Azad and Pandey were killed in a "fake" encounter.

Pro-Maoist writer Varavara Rao had also demanded a
judicial inquiry into the killing of Azad.

"The Maoists, having lost their most important leader
Azad, whom the Maoists themselves termed him as ‘mind & soul’
of the party, are unable to digest the loss and have started
resorting to malign the image of police through their
campaigns by propagating utter falsehood repeatedly through
their frontal organizations like Andhra Pradesh Civil
Liberties Committee (APCLC) and others", the DGP said.

"Being at the helm of affairs of Maoist party, Azad had
master minded the ruthless killings of thousands of innocent
civilians, including women and children, throughout the
country for over three decades, in addition to killing
thousands of police personnel on duty," the top cop said.

In the past also, the Maoists have termed every exchange
of fire as fake encounters, contrary to the truth, which was
established otherwise, Girish Kumar said.

"All these vested interests who are talking about
Adilabad exchange of fire are the mouth-pieces of CPI
(Maoist). For several of them. it has become a livelihood to
take up campaign against state agencies on behalf of Maoists,”
the DGP said.

"I appeal to the people of Andhra Pradesh at large to
scuttle the evil designs of Maoists to stage a comeback,"
Girish Kumar said and requested the media to "project the
actual intentions of CPI (Maoists) in public interest."

PTI