Hyderabad: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on the direction of the Supreme Court, has registered cases of murder and criminal conspiracy against the policemen who were involved in the killing of top Maoist leader Azad and journalist Hemachandra Pande in an alleged encounter last year.
Cases were registered against the then Asifabad in-charge CI Raghunandan (now Mandamarri CI), Tandur SI Ravinder, Bellampalli ARSI Mohan and Civil Special Party and AR Special Party constables under Sections 120-B and 302 IPC.
It may be recalled that Azad and journalist Pande were killed in an alleged encounter during the first week of July last year in the Sarkepalli forests of Wankhidi mandal of Adilabad. Alleging that the encounter was fake, the social activist Swamy Agnivesh and Hemachandra Pande’s wife have filed a petition in the Supreme Court. Allowing the petition, the Apex Court has directed the CBI to probe the encounter. There was commotion in the police circles as the State government has accepted the CBI probe.
The CBI DIG, Mr Lakshmi Narayana, has said that the names of some more policemen could be added in the FIR, based on the investigation.
When the Maoists were invited for talks by the Central government, Swamy Agnivesh was chosen as the mediator. When Agnivesh tried to hand over the letter of the Union Home Minister inviting the Maoists for talks, Agnivesh knew about the killing of Azad. Pained by the encounter death, Agnivesh has alleged that the government has used him as a pawn to kill Azad. He appealed to the Supreme Court to take action against the government and the policemen responsible for the killing. He urged the Apex Court to have the encounter inquired by a Sitting Judge or the Central Human Rights Commission. He said that at least the CBI should be ordered to probe the matter.
A bench comprising Mr Justice Aftab Alam and Mr Justice R M Lodha has directed the State government to be prepared for a CBI probe. When the government has given its acceptance to the probe, the CBI has registered cases against the policemen.
It is rare that cases were registered against policemen who participated in an encounter and the case to be handed over to the CBI. As the Supreme Court is overseeing the investigation, it is likely that the CBI might also inquire some senior level IPS officials as well as the State and Union ministers in the investigation. The Union Home Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, the DGP, SIB Chief, the then Chief Minister and Home Minister are likely to be questioned by the CBI. (NSS)