The National Investigative Agency(NIA) has refused to transfer the probe into the 2013 Jhiram Ghati Maoist attack to the Chhattisgarh government, stating that the agency is in the middle of an ongoing trial.
Within a day of assuming charge, the Congress government in Chhattisgarh had announced an Special Investigative Team(SIT) into the incident in 2013 when 31 people were killed in a Maoist attack, including the entire state leadership of the Congress, including senior leaders Mahendra Karma, Nand Kumar Patel and Vidya Charan Shukla. The Congress has maintained that the killings were the result of a political conspiracy in connivance with Maoists who carried out the attack.
In a letter dated February 8, addressed to the Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that the matter was examined in consultation with the NIA, and the agency had filed a chargesheet against 9 persons on September 25, 2014 and a supplementary chargesheet against 30 persons on May 28, 2015. It further said that 91 protected witnesses have been examined before the special NIA court. “Therefore it has not been found appropriate to transfer the case back to the state government for investigation in the midst of an ongoing trial,” the letter said.
“However the state government can associate itself with the NIA, under provisions 7(a) of the NIA Act 2008 for further investigation if some new facts have come to its notice,” stated the MHA letter.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel raised the issue in the Chhattisgarh Assembly on Wednesday and said the NIA refusal indicated that the BJP government had something to hide. Congress spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said that the NIA refusal was “extremely grave and serious”.