Murder case filed against AP cops in Azad killing

HYDERABAD: In another indictment of the working of the state police, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday registered a case of murder and criminal conspiracy against AP police officials in the alleged false encounter of Maoist spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and Hemachandra Pandey in the Adilabad forests in July last year.

The FIR registered by the Hyderabad zone of the CBI named Raghunandan Rao, circle inspector, Asifabad police station, K Ravinder, sub-inspector, Thandur police station, D Mohan, reserve sub-inspector, armed reserve headquarters, Bellampally, civil and armed reserve special party police officials and others and charged them with murder and criminal conspiracy.

The state police had claimed that Azad and Pandey were killed in an encounter in the Sarkepally area of Adilabad district on July 1, 2010. However, the family members of the victims and civil rights groups claimed that the two were shot dead in cold blood and that there was no encounter.

Later, Hemachandra Pandey’s widow Bineeta and social activist Swami Agnivesh filed a criminal writ petition in the Supreme Court alleging that the two victims were unarmed and shot dead. On April 24 this year, the apex court directed the CBI to investigate the allegations of fake encounter and submit a status report within six weeks.

After registering the FIR on Friday, a CBI team headed by SP H Venkatesh, the chief investigating officer of the case, will be visiting the alleged encounter site in a couple of days, sources said.

Who actually carried out the encounter is still not clear. While the AP police claimed that a police party belonging to Adilabad district carried it out, sources said it was actually the Greyhounds who staged the encounter. “We will get to the bottom of it,” claimed CBI sources.

This is the second major incident in recent times when the AP police has been indicted. The CBI is already probing the role of the state police in the alleged encounter death of Sohrabuddin in Gujarat in November 2005. It has been alleged that the state police helped their Gujarat counterparts in intercepting Sohrabuddin on the outskirts of Hyderabad from where he was taken to Gujarat.

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