Petitions seeking judicial probe into killing of Maoist in SC
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Last Updated: Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 21:01
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has been moved for a judicial probe into the killing of top Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar and journalist Hemchandra Pandey in an alleged encounter with the Andhra Pradesh police six months ago.

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

The petitions filed by social activist Swami Agnivesh and Pandey's 30-year-old widow Babita sought a direction for the Centre to hold judicial inquiry into the killings alleging that 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.

They have 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 listed for hearing on January 14 alleged that 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.

"The burnt marks at the entry wound are a clear indication of the flame from the gun which indicates that the bullet was fired from a very close range," both the petitions said referring to the autopsy reports.

The petition said though the FIR mentioned that 20 Maoists had crossed to Andhra Pradesh from Maharashtra through the forests, only two bodies were found the next day despite the claim by the police that the firing lasted for 30 minutes.

The petitioners contended that the theory of encounter is ruled out as only one AK-47 rifle lying next to the bodies of Azad, a spokesman of the outfit, and a 9mm pistol was recovered along side Pandey who was wearing sandals.

Agnivesh, who has sought the apex court's permission to argue the matter himself, said in the petition that he was acting as a peace negotiator between the government and CPI (Maoist) at the request of the Home Minister P Chidambaram.

He claimed Azad was carrying his letter for peace talks when he was taken into custody along with Pandey. Both were later killed in the alleged encounter by the Andhra Pradesh police on the intervening night of July 1 and 2, 2010.

The petitions said the Andhra Pradesh Police are trying to justify the alleged encounter by trying to brand Babita's husband, who was contributing to Hindi dailies, as a Maoist.

The police had stated that Azad, who held an M Tech degree, was allegedly involved in attempts on the lives of two former chief ministers N Chandrababu Naidu and N Janardhan Reddy.


First Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 21:01

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