Dismiss petition against Azad’s killing: Government to apex court


New Delhi : The centre and the Andhra Pradesh government have told the Supreme Court that a petition seeking a judicial probe into the killing of Maoist leader Cherkuri Raj Kumar alias Azad and his associate Hem Chandra Pandey in an alleged staged shootout last year was not maintainable and ought to be dismissed.

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The petition has been moved by Bineeta Pandey, wife of freelance journalist Hem Chandra Pandey, who along with the Communist Party of India-Maoist leader Azad was killed in an alleged staged shootout by Andhra Pradesh police on the intervening night of July 1-2, 2010 in Adilabad district of the state.

Both the centre and the state government said that the Andhra Pradesh High Court is seized of a petition with identical prayer by Cherukuri Karuna – mother of Azad.

The centre’s affidavit said that “the petitioner (Bineeta Pandey) herein having full knowledge of the said fact has preferred to conceal the same from this (apex) court and as such the writ petition is liable to be dismissed”.

The centre told the court that the subject matter of the petition is “quite sensitive and pertains to the security and integrity of the nation”.

It further said that the “state government has taken all the steps within their command and nothing is lacking, warranting the issuance mandamus by this (apex) court…”

The centre’s affidavit said that the averment made in the petition by Bineeta Pandey relates to “Police and Public Order” which under the scheme of the constitution falls under the category of state subjects and a plea directed against the government would be “infringing the fine fabric of the distribution of power and authority between the State and the Centre”.

It may be recalled that the apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R.M. Lodha in the course of its last hearing on March 14 had pulled up the Andhra Pradesh government for failing to reply to a petition seeking a judicial probe into the alleged “encounter killing” Azad and Pandey.

The court had asked the state government to file its reply by March 28, 2011. On Monday the hearing could not take place, as the court did not meet.

In the first hearing of the case on Dec 14, 2010, the apex court had said, “A Republic can’t bear the stain that it will kill its own children.”

Andhra Pradesh government in its affidavit said that the Bineeta Pandey has moved the apex court on the basis of “baseless report” of the “fact finding team” of the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation (CDRO).

The affidavit said the fact-finding team “has not gathered any facts independent of the material provided by the state authorities…”. It further said that though the attempt to collect facts was made 50 days after the alleged exchange of fire (encounter) but the fact-finding team “did not visit the site of the exchange of fire and returned half way from the scene.”

The affidavit also denied that there was an operation named “Operation Green Hunt” to deal with Naxal and Maoist activities.