‘Biggest political massacre’: Baghel welcomes SC order on Jheeram Ghati attack
Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said though NIA and an inquiry commission investigated the attack, no one looked into the political conspiracy
RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel on Tuesday welcomed the Supreme Court rejecting a petition by the National Investigation Agency (INA) to stop the state police from investigating the larger conspiracy into the 2013 Jheeram Ghati attack, saying the court’s move opens the doors of justice for Chhattisgarh.
Baghel described the attack, which wiped out the then Congress leadership in the state in 2013, as the biggest political massacre. Among the dead were Congress stalwarts such as Nand Kumar Patel, Vidya Charan Shukla and Mahendra Karma.
“Today’s decision of the Honorable Supreme Court on the Jheeram case is like opening the door of justice for Chhattisgarh. The Jheeram incident was the biggest political massacre in the democratic world in which we lost 32 people including senior Congress leaders,” Baghel said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
Baghel added that though the NIA and an inquiry commission probed the attack, no one looked into the political conspiracy.
“When the Chhattisgarh Police started this investigation, NIA approached the court to obstruct it. Today the path has been cleared. Now Chhattisgarh Police will investigate this… Everything will become clear,” the chief minister said.
Baghel, who led the Congress to victory in 2018, led the party in the state elections held in two phases on November 7 and 17. The votes are scheduled to be counted on December 3.
Earlier in the day in New Delhi, a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and comprising justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra dismissed the NIA’s plea. “Sorry, we would not like to interfere. Dismissed,” the bench told the NIA on Tuesday, according to news agency PTI.
Maoists attacked a convoy of Congress leaders in Jheeram valley in Bastar district’s Darbha area on May 25, 2013, killing 29 people. The Bastar police lodged a case at Darbha police station. NIA took over the case and filed a charge sheet.
The Bhupesh Baghel government filed an FIR on May 26 following a complaint by a Congress leader Jitendra Mudliyar who lost his father in the attack to seek a probe into the larger conspiracy into the attack.
The NIA objected to the FIR and asked, first the Jagdalpur court and later the Chhattisgarh high court to stop the Bastar police. But the trial court rejected the plea in 2020; the high court turned it down in 2022, leading the NIA to approach the Supreme Court.
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