The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has quietly washed its hands of the controversial Bhopal jailbreak case, saying the state government has already launched ‘too many inquires and probes’ into the incident.
“We have told the Union home ministry that since the state government has already ordered too many probes and judicial inquiries, there was no need to involve the NIA in the matter. We have, in fact, listed all these inquiries while tendering our opinion to the home ministry,” said an NIA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Initially, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and home minister Bhoopendra Singh Thakur had announced that the NIA will be roped into to probe the jailbreak case, but the separate case of encounter will be judicially inquired into along with a state police criminal probe. Later, the state government developed cold feet over even transferring the jailbreak probe to the NIA. The hands of the MP government were tied as the state police had invoked sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act(UAPA) while filing an FIR in connection with the incident.
The NIA Act mandates that all state governments are duty-bound to inform the Union home ministry if any FIR under the UAPA is registered in their jurisdiction. The home ministry, in consultation with the NIA, decides whether the case can be probed by the state police or if the NIA should take over investigation depending upon the gravity of offence and interstate ramifications.
“The MP government, to fulfil the legal requirement under the UAPA, had sent the FIR to the Union home ministry with a copy to the NIA. But now, the NIA has communicated to the home ministry that it was not interested in probing the case,” added the official.
Eight alleged SIMI operatives managed to break the Bhopal jail on night of October 31 by killing a prison guard but few hours later all of them were killed in a controversial encounter by the state police.