The CBI on Friday told the the Supreme Court that the July 2010 the killing of top Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar and journalist Hemchandra Pandey by Andhra Pradesh police was a genuine encounter and not a fake one as alleged by some activists.
"The investigation does not seem to bear out your (petitioners) apprehension that it was a fake encounter," said a bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai after going through the CBI's final report.
"They (the CBI) have done a painstaking and thorough investigation," the bench said. "We have carefully gone through the sequence of events," it said, adding, the agency has given evidence to support its probe.
The bench allowed petitioner's counsel Prashant Bhushan to have access to the CBI's final report on the condition that he will maintain confidentiality and fixed April 13 for further hearing.
Rajkumar alias Azad (58), a senior member of banned CPI (Maoist) Central Committee, and Pandey (32) were killed in an alleged fake encounter in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh on the intervening night of July 1-2, 2010. Police had alleged that Pandey was also a Maoist.
In a petition filed before the SC, the slain journalist's wife Bineeta Pandey and social activist Swami Agnivesh had demanded an independent CBI probe into the killing.
They had alleged that post-mortem reports and a fact-finding exercise carried out by rights groups clearly indicated that the encounter was not genuine.