Supreme Court notices to Centre, UP government on CBI probe

Seeks reply on CBI probe in scribe’s killing

New Delhi/ Lucknow: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre, Uttar Pradesh government and the Press Council of India on a writ petition for a CBI probe into the brutal killing of a journalist in Shajahanpur allegedly by the “mining mafia” by setting him ablaze.

The SC directive came even as the family of the slain journalist Jagendra Singh met UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Monday and received a compensation of Rs 30 lakh and an assurance of justice from the government.

A vacation Bench of Justices M.Y. Eqbal and Arun Mishra issued notice on the petition filed by Satish Jain, editor, Janbhawna Sandesh newspaper after hearing senior counsel Adish Aggarwala, who argued that this was a serious incident affecting the freedom of the press. The Bench asked the respondents to file their response in two weeks. Counsel also cited the subsequent killing of a journalist in Madhya Pradesh.

The petitioner submitted that the present petition was being filed against the attack caused to the freedom of press and attack on Indian democracy. Pointing out that the threats and attacks on Journalists was on the increase and it was a pan India issue, he wanted the apex court’s interference to lay down guidelines for the protection of journalists and the media.

The petitioner cited the dying declaration of the victim saying, “Why did they have to burn me? If the ministers and his goondas had a grudge, they could have beaten me instead of pouring kerosene and burning me..”

Journalist Jagendra Singh was allegedly set on fire during a police raid at his house in Awas Vikas Colony of Sadar Bazar area on June 1. As per the allegation by his family, police officials set him on fire at the behest of minister Ram Murti Verma. He succumbed to the injuries on June 8. In the FIR lodged against the Minister and others by Jegendra Singh’s son alleged that the minister sent the team of policemen to his house who doused Singh with kerosene and set him on fire. He said the fact that in this case a minister and police officials had been arrayed as accused had shaken the confidence of public in the investigation conducted by the State Police.

The petitioner said, “If the majesty of rule of law is to be upheld and if it is to be ensured that the guilty are punished in accordance with law notwithstanding their status and authority which they might have enjoyed, it is desirable to entrust the investigation to the CBI. UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav handed over a cheque of Rs 30 lakh and assured two jobs to the sons of the slain journalist on Monday.

“The Chief Minister has assured us that whosoever is responsible for the murder of my son will be punished. He has assured jobs for the two boys and support for the family. He said that the culprits would be arrested in three days. We will end the dharna on Tuesday,” Sumer Singh, Jegendra’s father said.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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