SC refuses judicial inquiry into Azad killing

The Supreme Court refused to order a judicial inquiry into the 2010 police encounter of Naxal leader Cherukuri Rajkumar

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: May 4, 2012 2:14:37 am

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to order a judicial inquiry into the 2010 police encounter of Naxal leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and journalist Hemchandra Pandey and directed the CBI to submit its investigation reports to the Magistrate concerned.

Refraining from commenting on the merits of the CBI probe which had claimed the encounter was genuine,a Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and CK Prasad merely said they had no reason to believe that the agency had not conducted an “honest” investigation into the encounter.

The SC had earlier ordered a CBI inquiry into the 2010 alleged fake encounter.

Ordering CBI to place its probe report before the Adilabad trial court in Andhra Pradesh,within whose jurisdiction the encounter occurred,the Bench left it to the magistrate to decide if Pandey’s widow,Bineeta,should get a copy of the report or not.

The court has left it to the “discretion” of the magistrate to either reject the report and take cognizance of the case. Again,it is left to the Magistrate to accept any closure report,if any,filed by the CBI saying the encounter was genuine.

The SC also refused to direct an independent investigation into the encounter by a Special Investigation Team as sought by Bineeta and social activist Swami Agnivesh.

During arguments,Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval took exception to aspersions cast on the CBI’s motives,saying the agency was acting in this case as the SC’s own investigative arm. The apex court said that the magistrate shall not be influenced by any observations or findings of the CBI report and should proceed in accordance with the law.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan,appearing for Bineeta,had inspected the CBI report.

He contended that there were many blanks in the investigation. He argued that circumstantial evidence like the post-mortem report and forensics pointed out that they were killed at close range.

He alleged that the CBI,as a unit technically under the control of DoPT,was vulnerable to pressure and influence.

Azad,a senior member of the banned CPI (Maoist) Central Committee,carried a reward of Rs 12 lakh on his head. The encounter by the AP police occurred in July 2010.

The Bench during a hearing in March had remarked after going through the CBI report that the agency had given evidence to support its findings.

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