Centre, AP govt oppose judicial probe in Azad killing in SC

Last Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 20:09

New Delhi: The Centre and the Andhra Pradesh
government have opposed in the Supreme Court the demand for a
judicial probe into the killings of top Maoist leader
Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and journalist Hemchandra Pandey
in an alleged fake encounter nine months ago.

The state government, in its affidavit, refuted the
allegation that the police had killed them in a fake encounter
and submitted that they lost their lives in an exchange of
fire between them and security forces.

"All experts had opined that the bullet injuries on the
bodies of the deceased were caused by long-range firing and
not by way of shots being fired at a close range," the state
government said in its 33-page reply while referring to the
post-mortem report.

The state government said there was nothing unusual in an
exchange of fire between the police and the members of a banned
outfit as the state has been facing the severe problem of
Naxalism.

"The state has been prone to Naxal violence and there had
been exchanges of fire between the police and armed Maoists,"
the affidavit said.

The Centre said the state government saying the "state
has taken all possible steps" and the petition seeking a
judicial probe is needed to be dismissed.

"In the present case, the state government has taken all
possible steps within their command and nothing is lacking,
warranting the issuance of mandamus by this court and the
petition is liable to be dismissed," the Home Ministry said in
its three-page affidavit.

The governments` response came after the apex court had
issued a notice to them on January 14 on the separate
petitions filed by social activist Swami Agnivesh and Pandey`s
30-year-old widow Babita seeking a judicial probe in the case.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and RM Lodha had
expressed displeasure over the incident and had remarked "we
cannot allow the republic killing its own children."

Azad, a senior member of banned CPI (Maoist) Central
Committee, and Pandey, who was dubbed by the police as a
Maoist, were killed in an alleged fake encounter on the
intervening night of July 1-2, 2010, in Adilabad district of
Andhra Pradesh.

Seeking the judicial probe into the killings, the
petition alleged the post-mortem reports of both the persons
and a fact-finding exercise carried out by rights groups
clearly indicate that the encounter was not genuine.

The petitioners referred to the fact-finding carried out
by Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO), a
national coalition of human rights organisations, that both
were killed by the Andhra Pradesh Police in blatant violation
of their rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

The petitions alleged Azad, 58, who carried a reward
of Rs 12 lakh on his head and Pandey, 32 were killed from a
very close range which is evident from the post-mortem reports
of both the persons.

PTI

First Published: Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 20:09
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