Petitions seeking judicial probe into killing of Maoist in SC

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.

PTI




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