Madras HC orders CBI probe into `encounter death`

Over 12 years after a Telecom Department engineer-turned-extremist was killed in an encounter, Madras High Court ordered a CBI probe into the death.

Chennai: Over 12 years after a Telecom Department
engineer-turned-extremist was killed in an encounter with
police in Dharmapuri district, Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered a CBI probe into the death and said there was prima facie
evidence to show that police themselves had violated the law.

In its order on an plea by Nirmala,widow of K Ravinder, who
alleged that her husband was killed in a `fake` encounter on
Jan 10, 2000, a Division Bench said they were pained "at the
prima facie evidence available before us to show that there is
violation of law by the protectors of law themselves."

Transferring the investigation on the file of Marandahalli
police station to CBI, the Bench, comprising Justices Elipe
Dharma Rao and M Venugopal, directed police to ensure smooth
transition of all records of the case, if any, within a month.
The Judges directed CBI to complete its probe, as per law,
and file the final report before the court concerned within
six months from date of receipt of the entire case records.

The Bench rejected a prayer for a direction to CBI to
register a case of murder under IPC section 302 against police
personnel responsible for the death.It was for CBI to decide
against who the case should be registered and under what
section of law, it held.

Prima facie the version by police departments seemed
doubtful and there was some "foul play" by some police
personnel in the death of Ravinder, who allegedly joined the
`Radical Youth League` and subsequently became an extremist
after developing contact with Peoples War Group.

If such serious allegations of human rights violations,
particularly by law protectors themselves, were left without
proper probe it would shake people`s confidence in entire
political system in particular and democracy as a whole,it
The Bench made it clear that any observation made in the
order "is only for the limited purpose of deciding the issue,
whether investigation is to be handed over to the CBI or not
and shall not be construed as an expression of opinion
on the merits of the case by this court."

The Bench also made it clear that it was not casting any
aspersions on police.