Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday said the submission of a judicial commission's report on the May 2013 attack by Naxals in the state's Jhiram valley, wherein several Congress leaders were killed, to Governor Anusuiya Uikey was against established practice as such findings are handed over to the state government.
Talking to reporters at the helipad here, the CM said he came to know from the media that the judicial commission's report has been submitted to the governor (last week) though he was yet to hear from the Raj Bhavan on the issue.
He wondered why the report was submitted suddenly , pointing out that in September this year, the commission had sought extension of its term from the state government to complete its investigation.
The judicial commission to probe the Jhiram valley Naxal attack was constituted on May 28, 2013, and it was to submit its findings in a period of three months. Since then, the time limit to submit the report had been extended 20 times till now. In June this year, an extension was given for the last time, but in September, the commission's secretary again sought extension citing the investigation was yet to be concluded, (though) permission (for term extension) was yet to be accorded, he said.
Baghel said the judge heading the commission was transferred after which he sought the state law department's opinion on the matter.
Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh High Court Judge Justice Prashant Mishra, who was heading the commission, was transferred as Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Subsequently, I sought the opinion of the state's law department on options we have when the investigation is incomplete and the judge concerned has been transferred , he said.
"Suddenly, we came to know from the media that the report has been submitted to the governor. We haven't got any information regarding this from the Raj Bhavan (governor house)," the CM claimed.
So far, the Chhattisgarh government has constituted 7 to 8 judicial commissions and as per established practice, their findings were submitted to the state government, he said.
As per rule, an action taken report, along with a commission's findings, is tabled in the legislative assembly, Baghel said.
It indicates the commission's probe into the Jhiram incident is incomplete as on one hand they had sought extension for submission of the report and on the other they hurriedly handed it over to the governor. The two things seem contradictory , he added.
Maoists attacked a convoy of Congress leaders during the party's `Parivartan Rally' in the Jhiram valley in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh on May 25, 2013, killing 29 people, including then state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, former leader of opposition Mahendra Karma and ex-Union minister V C Shukla.
The commission, headed by former Chhattisgarh High Court judge Prashant Kumar Mishra, was constituted on May 28, 2013, by the then BJP government to inquire into the deadly attack.
The Jhiram Ghati Inquiry Commission's secretary and registrar (judicial) of the Chhattisgarh HC, Santosh Kumar Tiwari, handed over the report to the governor on November 6.
Hitting out at the BJP-led Central government, Baghel accused it of not returning a case diary related to the Jhiram valley attack which was given to the NIA (National Investigation Agency) by the state government.
The NIA (which took over the probe into the Jhiram attack in 2013 during the UPA government) has already submitted its final report.
After being elected to power (in 2018 assembly election), the Congress government had constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to get the incident investigated. Despite repeated requests, the Centre has not handed over a file (case diary) to the state government, Baghel said.
Whom does the central government want to save? Which facts do they want to hide? The Congress had raised questions over the NIA probe as the statements of those who were at the spot at the time of the attack were not recorded. Why did the agency not probe the conspiracy angle in the attack? he asked.
Baghel said the Chhattisgarh Krishi Upaj Mandi (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which was passed in the state assembly in October last year, was still pending with the governor for assent.
The bill is still pending with the governor. We called on her many times seeking assent to the bill. The governor has the right to hold a bill as long as he/she wants. But this bill was passed by calling a special session of assembly, he said.
Asked if there was a lack of coordination between governor Uikey and the state government, he replied in the negative.
"Assent has been given to several bills. There is no disagreement (with governor). But the 'mandi' bill and another one related to a journalism university (in Raipur) are still awaiting her assent," the CM said.