News: CBI probe sought into encounter

A fact-finding team, comprising representatives of different human rights activists, on Monday called for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the death of five suspected bank robbers in an encounter by the police on February 23.

Addressing a press conference, A. Marx of the People’s Union for Human Rights accused the special team involved in the firing of making no attempt to apprehend the suspects alive. Dismissing the ‘exchange of fire’ theory of the Chennai Police, he said there was every reason to believe that the incident was a “fake encounter”.

Since the Crime Branch CID was part of the State police, it would only be appropriate to transfer the case to the CBI. “We also demand constitution of a judicial commission headed by a sitting judge of a high court to enquire into the encounter.

Going by the guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Marx said, a murder case should be registered against the police personnel and higher officials involved in the operation. “They should be treated as murder case accused till such time it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that the firing was only in self-defence. The deaths were preventable…the police went with a sole intention to kill the suspects,” he alleged.

Mr. Marx said some persons prevented human rights activists from visiting the scene of firing and interacting with the local people in the Velachery area. “Posters were pasted against us…this is a bad precedent. When we were physically prevented and verbally abused, the police deployed there remained mute spectators. People living in the vicinity of the encounter scene were threatened not to speak to the media or fact-finding teams,” he added.

Among others who were present in the press conference were advocate Rajini and K.Sugumaran of the Federation for People’s Rights.

The Hindu /28.02.2012

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