The Centre’s move earlier this week to launch a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the April 9 killing of Dantewada BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi and four others, seems to be stirring a political row in the state. Mandavi and four policemen were killed in an IED blast just two days before the maoist-ridden Bastar region went to vote on April 11.
On the NIA website, the case was recorded as registered on May 17, as per an order by the Ministry of Home Affairs direction dated one day previously. The case has been registered under sections 147,148,149,302,396,307 and 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code, sections of the Indian Arms Act, the Explosives Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The saffron party welcomed the move and said that it would bring the truth to light.
However, the ruling Congress has taken umbrage over the fact that it was not intimated about the investigation and alleged that it was a political move.
Shailesh Nitin Trivedi, Chief spokesperson of the Chhattisgarh Congress said, “This is an assault on the federal structure of the country. Why do they not have faith on a judicial inquiry? The BJP wanted a CBI probe and the Chief Minister went a step forward and announced a judicial inquiry. The NIA investigation has been announced during the Model Code of Conduct, and no permission from the state government shows their intentions. In the Jhiram case in 2013, when the Congress lost its entire leadership, even then the NIA had investigated? What did they do? They fudged the investigation and came up with nothing, and this was a conspiracy.”
Senior officers of the Chhattisgarh Police confirmed that they had not been told of the NIA’s entry into the investigation. “It is true that in such cases the NIA needs no permission. But the established norm is that the state government is at least intimated, especially during times like the Model Code of Conduct…” a senior police officer said.