Police on Monday dismissed criticism over the encounter killing of eight SIMI activists near Bhopal, saying there was heavy exchange of fire in which they were felled after which four countrymade guns and some sharp-edged weapons were recovered from them. “There was heavy firing from the other side (activists) and they were killed in retaliatory fire. Three policemen received injuries from sharp weapons. Police opened 45-46 rounds of fire,” IG Yogesh Chaudhary told a media briefing after questions were raised over the genuineness of the encounter.
On being asked about reports that the terrorists did not carry any weapons, the IG said, “It is a matter of investigation.” The IG also dismissed the doubts raised over the encounter after a video purportedly showing a policeman pumping bullets into a man from close range, saying, “will have to look at veracity of (unverified) video. We will take all matters in consideration as probe progress.”
He told media that four firearms and three sharp weapons were recovered from the SIMI terrorists who were killed in the encounter. He also said that those who were killed have been continuously perpetrating serious offences and had also killed a police constable in 2008, 2011.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will probe the jail-break even as contradictions surfaced on the encounter. Meanwhile, the jail superintendent and three other officials have been suspended by the Madhya Pradesh government.
At a brief media interaction, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the jail-break would be probed by the NIA but parried a question on the encounter. He said the state government will also carry out a separate investigation into the matter.
Soon after the incident, the state government released the sketches of the eight activists and suspended four officials including Jail Superintendent Akhilesh Tomar. The government also announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh each on the heads of the activists.