July 23, 2009, BT Road Incident- Justice Agarwal Finally Submits Inquiry Report

IMPHAL, May 17: The report of the one man Justice PG Agarwal Inquiry Commission, which was constituted to probe into the controversial BT Road incident on July 23, 2009 that left two persons dead and five others wounded, was submitted to the State Government today.

However, an order issued by the Home Department, Government of Manipur has stated that the period for submission of the report of the one man Commission of Inquiry presided by Justice (retired) PG Agarwal (of Gauhati High Court) to probe the firing incident which occurred on July 23, 2009 at around BT Road, Imphal has been extended upto May 20, 2011. The order signed by Additional Secretary (Home) M Yaiskul Meitei is dated May 16, 2011.

Retired Justice PG Agarwal, who flew down from Guwahati for the purpose, handed over the 80-paged report containing the statements of 21 witnesses and recommendations of the Commission to the Additional Secretary (Home) of the Government of Manipur M Yaiskul during a simple function at Hotel Imphal today.

Talking to The Sangai Express yesterday, retired Justice PG Agarwal had informed that the inquiry report would be submitted definitely to the State Government today.

The report of the inquiry was supposed to be furnished within two months of instituting the Commission. But the term of the Commission had been extended from time to time even as experts of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) sought six months’ time to verify the authenticity of the photographs published in the New Delhi-based news magazine Tehelka debunking the police claim that Chungkham Sanjit, a former UG cadre, was shot dead in an encounter on that fateful day of July 23, 2009.

The news report of Tehelka and its accompanying series of photographs which showed Sanjit being accosted by the police commandos and later shoved inside the Maimu Pharmacy, where the reported encounter took place had evoked wide spread protest paralyzing normal life in Manipur for months.

Beside, Sanjit, Thokchom Rabina, a pregnant woman who came to make some purchases in the market was also killed in the incident, while leaving five other persons injured.

The Monsoon session State Assembly was on in full progress when the incident took place and significantly the Assembly is located just a stone throw away from BT Road.

On the basis of the report furnished by the police, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh too had made a statement in the Assembly, attributing the deaths to an encounter.

The CM’s statement was subsequently retracted in the light of the damning photos published in Tehelka and the State Government was constrained to institute the inquiry Commission on August 27 of the same year.

The State Government also placed under suspension six police personnel including two Inspectors on the basis of the charge sheets submitted by the CBI.

Responding to a question on the recommendations of the Commission, while coming out after handing over the report, retired Justice Agarwal maintained that disclosing the recommendations would be against the law.

‘‘My work is over, and it is upto to the State Government now to do what is required’’, he said.

In response to another question, retired Justice Agarwal explained that submission of the inquiry report was delayed following the submission of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory which sought six months’ time to verify the authenticity of the photographs published in Tehelka.

In addition to this, recovery of the injured who are among the witnesses had to be waited.

On the other hand, the CBI, whose service has also been roped in by the State Government to probe the incident, has already submitted chargesheets against the police and hearing of the case has started.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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