The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed the Chhattisgarh government’s plea for a direction to the judicial commission probing the 2013 Jheeram Ghati Maoist attack, in which 29 people, including senior Congress leaders were killed, to examine additional witnesses.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan pointed out that the commission had not agreed to the state government’s request to examine more witnesses and had closed the proceedings.
“The Commission said in September that it will not examine any new witnesses after October 1, 2019… It said those who wanted to be examined will file an affidavit but no one filed… You wanted the expert witness to be examined but commission did not agree. You may have extended the commission’s tenure but the commission closed the proceedings,” said the bench, also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah.
The state government had approached the court against the order of the Chhattisgarh High Court rejecting its petition for directions to examine expert witnesses.
Appearing for the state government, Senior Advocate A M Singhvi said that after a new government came to power in the state in 2018, additional terms of reference were given to the commission but nothing was done. Expert witnesses such as the Director of Jungle Warfare had not been examined, he submitted.
However, the court pointed out that the commision had asked those who wanted to be examined as witnesses to file their affidavits. “But no one filed. How can they be examined now?”
Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, former leader of opposition in the state Mahendra Karma, and former Union minister Vidyacharan Shukla were among those killed in the attack in Bastar district on May 25, 2013.
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