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Inquiry into lawyer death still elusive

Cuttack, Nov. 23: Three months after Bishnu Charan Das, an advocate, was killed in police firing, the official notification on the institution of judicial inquiry by a retired judge is yet to be issued.

A day after Das was killed in police firing at Bagalpur, the state government had ordered a judicial probe into the incident on August 24. Lawyers expressed their anger over the issue and the CPI(M) today criticised the government over the delay.

Local residents had put up a roadblock demanding a crime branch probe into the death of Pradip Samantaray, son of an ex-sarpanch of Bagalpur. It was alleged that that administration, instead of trying to solve the problem amiably, resorted lathicharge and firing that resulted in the death of the lawyer.

CPI(M) leader Subash Singh said: “There can be no rationale for such inordinate delay. Three months is time enough for a judicial inquiry commission to start functioning.”

The High Court Bar Association, the Cuttack Criminal Court Bar Association and all other bar associations in the city had slammed the police firing and stopped work since August 24.

All the courts had remained paralysed till the lawyers called off their strike over on September 4. “A judicial inquiry was not among our demands. But the inordinate delay is reason enough for resentment by the members of the bar,” High Court Bar Association general secretary Lalatendu Samantaray told The Telegraph today.

“Since the government had ordered a judicial probe into the incident, timely notification on the institution of the judicial inquiry was expected,” he said.

“In fact, the general body of the Association, while calling off the cease work, had authorised the executive body to nominate three lawyers to pursue the case before the inquiry commission regarding the amount of compensation to be paid to the family of Bishnu Charan Das,” he added.

The High Court Bar Association, the Cuttack Criminal Court Bar Association and all other bar associations in the city had demanded compensation of Rs 50 lakh for the death of the lawyer, a government job on compassionate grounds for one of his family members as he was the bread earner of the family and suspension of the officers involved in ordered the police firing.

But the lawyers had called of their strike after the government granted an ex-gratia of Rs 9 lakh and the Cuttack collector, on behalf of the government, gave a written assurance on giving a job to the younger brother of the deceased lawyer.

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