Shivraj govt gives in to Opp demands of judicial probe in jail break, encounter

RSTV Bureau
FILE: Police personnel guarding outside Bhopal Central Jail after 8 SIMI members escaped on Monday in Bhopal. The STF killed them in an encounter later.

FILE: Police personnel guarding outside Bhopal Central Jail after 8 SIMI members escaped on Monday in Bhopal. The STF killed them in an encounter later.

Madhya Pradesh government has ordered a judicial probe into the jailbreak by eight suspected SIMI operatives and their encounter killing earlier this week. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered the probe, giving into the demand by opposition which has raised questions on claims by police about the Monday encounter.

The state government had earlier announced a probe by an SIT comprising CID officers into the encounter and a separate investigation by former Director General of Police Nandan Dubey into the jailbreak but the Congress and other opposition parties had been pressing for a judicial probe

An official release issued late last night here stated that the judicial probe will be conducted on both the incidents of jail break and the police encounter.

“Justice Pandey will probe all aspects related to how SIMI activists escaped from the high security jail and the encounter that took place after that,” it said.

Earlier, the BJP government led by Chouhan has vociferously defended the police action and accused the opposition of “politicising and communalising” the issue. But by Thursday evening, the ruling party said that the judicial inquiry has been ordered as the state government has nothing to hide.

MP-CHM-Shivraj-Singh-Chauhan

File photo of Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Photo – PTI

“I don’t think there was any inquiry necessary but since Shivraj Chouhan has nothing to hide, so he agreed to a judicial probe, which was their demand,” BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said.

Meanwhile, Jail Minister Kusum Mehdele rejected allegations that there was lax security at the prison and that a large number of security personnel were posted with ministers.

A PIL was also filed in the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday on the issue demanding judicial probe into the incident.

The under-trial suspected operatives of the outlawed SIMI escaped from the central jail here on the intervening night of October 30-31 and were subsequently killed in an encounter on the outskirts of the city on October 31.

Before escaping from the jail, the under-trials had also killed a head constable Ramashankar Yadav.

Since the encounter took place, conflicting versions from police and state Home Minister surfaced, leading to allegations that it might be fake.

A controversy also raged over the police action following the daring pre-dawn jail-break, after TV channels showed footage purportedly from the encounter site in which a policeman is seen pumping bullets into a man from close range after some unidentified person takes out what appears to be a knife said to be in a plastic cover and places it back.

(With inputs from the PTI)