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2013 Darbha massacre: Court rejects NIA plea to transfer state police FIR

The incident in Darbha, Sukma, had wiped out almost the entire Chhattisgarh Congress leadership, including V C Shukla and Mahendra Karma. The then BJP government had transferred the case to the NIA.

By: Express News Service | Raipur | August 13, 2020 1:25:24 am
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The NIA court in Jagdalpur, Bastar, has rejected the central agency’s application to transfer to it a state police FIR in the Darbha massacre case of 2013. The court also refused to order the state police to hand over their case files and records to the NIA.

The incident in Darbha, Sukma, had wiped out almost the entire Chhattisgarh Congress leadership, including V C Shukla and Mahendra Karma. The then BJP government had transferred the case to the NIA.

On August 10, Special NIA Court judge D N Bhagat rejected the NIA’s application to transfer to it a state police FIR in the case, lodged in May. The judge stated that while the NIA was already investigating the matter, against the same people and under the same sections, under Section 10 in the NIA Act, provisions exist to allow states to do independent investigation.

Refusing to intervene in the long-drawn feud between state agencies and the NIA over case files and records, the court said, “No investigation agency can fulfill the gaps in their investigation with the resources gathered by another investigating agency.”

PTI said Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P told reporters, “The Bastar police told the NIA court that this case is different from the 2013 one. The new case is mainly about the conspiracy angle.”

The FIR had been registered by the Chhattisgarh Police on May 25 this year, on a complaint by Jitendra Mudaliyar, son of Congress leader Uday Mudaliyar who had been killed in the 2013 massacre.

In June, the NIA moved the Jagdalpur court against the FIR. The Union Home Ministry also sent a letter to the Chhattisgarh Home Secretary pointing out that the FIR filed by the state police “relates to the same incident in respect of same occurrences and material facts, place, date, and time of the incident, mentioned in FIR 25/2013 of the NIA” registered in May 2013.

Suggesting that the state government move ran foul of the NIA Act, the letter had said, “Section 6 (6) of the NIA Act specifically prohibits the state government to proceed with the investigation once NIA is entrusted with the investigation under Section 6(4) of the Act. Further, section 8 of NIA Act empowers NIA to investigate any other offence connected with the scheduled offence.”

One of the first announcements by Congress Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on coming to power in December 2018 had been to order an SIT probe into the Darbha massacre. —With PTI Inputs

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