CBI probe establishes Azad encounter genuine: SC



New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that a CBI probe has established that the killing of top Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and a journalist, by Andhra Pradesh Police in July 2010, was not a fake encounter.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that a CBI probe has established that the killing of top Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and a journalist, by Andhra Pradesh Police in July 2010, was not a fake encounter.

The bench, which went through the final report of the CBI in the investigation, said that the agency has given evidence to support its probe.

"They (the CBI) have done a painstaking and thorough investigation," the bench said. "We have carefully gone through the sequence of events," it further said.

It said that prima facie it does not appear to be a fake encounter. "I went through the report very carefully," Justice Alam said.

The bench agreed to the plea of advocate Prashant Bhushan that he be allowed to go through the final report of the CBI which held the incident as a genuine encounter.

The bench allowed the petitioner to seek the report from the apex court registry, with the instruction that he will maintain the confidentiality of the report.

"We are confident you will respect the confidentiality of the report," the bench said and added, "We trust you, therefore, we are allowing you to have the report."

The court fixed the matter for further hearing on April 13, so that the petitioners can apprise the court about anything they would like to say on the report.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Bineeta Pandey, wife of the slain journalist Hemchandra Pandey, and social activist Swami Agnivesh, who had sought an independent CBI probe into the killing.

Cherukuri Rajkumar, also known as 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 in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh on the intervening night of July 1-2, 2010, the petitions said.

They had alleged that post-mortem reports of both the persons and a fact-finding exercise carried out by rights groups clearly indicated that the encounter was not genuine.

It was alleged Azad, 58, who carried a reward of Rs 12 lakh on his head, and Pandey, 32, were shot dead from a very close range, which was evident from their post-mortem reports.

PTI