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'No further probe into Batla House shootout'

IANS  New Delhi, August 26, 2009
First Published: 18:54 IST(26/8/2009) | Last Updated: 18:56 IST(26/8/2009)

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to order any further inquiry into the Sep 19, 2008 Batla House shootout in which a police inspector and two suspected Islamist militants were killed.

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A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan turned down the plea for any judicial inquiry or a probe by a special investigation team into the matter. The petition was filed by an NGO called Act Now For Democracy.

"NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) is a statutory body and its investigation into the case is satisfactory. It is very difficult for us to now send the matter to a third party for any further enquiry," the bench said.

The bench further said NHRC's prestige and dignity should be maintained.

The NHRC had given a clean chit to the police in the south Delhi shootout last year, but the NGO termed the probe as "not fair" and filed the petition.

Counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, had said: "The NHRC did not conduct a fair probe into the matter. It just relied on the police version and filed the report on the same lines."

"The NHRC did not visit the spot, nor did they talk to Mohammed Saif, the lone survivor of the gun battle and relied only on the police version of the shootout," Bhushan said.

Bhushan had said there was urgent need of a judicial probe by a retired Supreme Court judge into the incident.

Also, the court on Wednesday issued notice to Press Council of India asking for laying down guidelines on how the media should cover such an incident, and slated the next hearing Oct 21.

The Batla House shootout took place Sep 19, 2008, in which two suspected militants and a police officer were killed.

Two suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists were killed in the gun battle. 'Encounter specialist' police inspector MC Sharma also lost his life in the shootout.

It was alleged that police had staged the incident to ward off pressure after serial blasts in Delhi had killed 20 people a week before the gunbattle.


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