SC dismisses Jharkhand government appeal, justifies CBI probe in 2015 Bakoria encounter
The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the ongoing CBI probe into the alleged Bakoria encounter case of 2015, dismissing the state government’s appeal that challenged the investigation by a central agency.
A division bench of chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Sanjiv Khanna, while dismissing the appeal, said it was not inclined to entertain the petition.
The case relates to the alleged killing of 12 people in an ‘encounter’ between Maoists and security forces at Bakoria in Satbarwa block of Palamu district on June 8, 2015.
The CBI’s special crime branch, New Delhi, took up investigation in the case following a Jharkhand high court directive of October 22 last year. The HC had found that the state agencies (police and CID) had carried out a shoddy investigation in the case and transferred it to the CBI. A CBI team had inspected the spot two weeks ago.
Aggrieved by this, the state government on January 23 had filed a special leave petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court, challenging the Jharkhand high court’s order.
According to the police investigation, 12 Maoists were killed in the encounter. Many, including a national human rights commission (NHRC) team, doubted the police claim. It was alleged that the banned outfit, Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad (JJMP), had killed the 12 people and the police, in order to cover up the episode, had planted an encounter story to glorify itself. JJMP is a splinter group of the Maoists allegedly supported by the police to counter Maoist influence in the state.
Ex-ADG accuses DGP of scuttling probe
A probe in the matter by the state agency, CID, created controversy early last year after CID’s ADG, MV Rao, wrote a letter to the home department, accusing the state DGP DK Pandey of scuttling the investigation.
“...DGP asked me to go slow. He also advised me not to worry about the court orders,” Rao had said in his January 1, 2018 letter, alleging that his quick transfer, just in a month, was a part of larger conspiracy to cover up the alleged crime and to shield the culprits.
Rao had further clarified that statements of Harish Pathak, officer-in-charge of the concerned police station, and Hemant Toppo, DIG, Palamu Range, were recorded but none of them had acknowledged that such an encounter took place.
“The photographs of the encounter site, dead bodies and other materials available on record, the absence of blood at the encounter site and in the vehicle raised many questions which need to be addressed by a thorough probe in a professional manner,” Rao had said in his letter, which was also forwarded to the governor Droupadi Murmu and chief minister Raghubar Das.