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Supreme Court notice to Central, U.P. governments on killing of journalist

Uttar Pradesh Congress members, led by Rita Bahuguna Joshi, stage a peace march demanding a CBI probe into Shahjahanpur Journalist Jogendra Singh's murder, in Lucknow. (Inset) Jogendra Singh. -- File photos

Uttar Pradesh Congress members, led by Rita Bahuguna Joshi, stage a peace march demanding a CBI probe into Shahjahanpur Journalist Jogendra Singh's murder, in Lucknow. (Inset) Jogendra Singh. -- File photos  

A PIL plea seeks CBI probe into the killing of Jagendra Singh, allegedly at the behest of Minister Ram Murti Verma.

The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Central and Uttar Pradesh governments on a plea seeking a CBI probe into the case of killing of journalist Jagendra Singh, in which a Minister and five others have been booked.

Besides the Union Home Ministry (MHA) and the state government, a Bench of Justices M Y Eqbal and Arun Mishra also issued notice to the Press Council of India (PCI) and sought their responses to the PIL plea within two weeks.

The Bench was hearing the plea filed by Delhi-based journalist Satish Jain through senior lawyer Adish C Aggarwala and advocate Aditya Singh.

Jagendra was set on fire, allegedly by police officials during a raid ont his house in Awas Vikas Colony of Sadar Bazar area in Saharanpur on June 1. He died of his injuries on June 8.

An FIR was registered against ruling Samajwadi Party Minister Ram Murti Singh Verma and five police men on the basis of a complaint by Jagendra’s son Raghvendra after the death of the journalist at a Lucknow hospital.

“On June 1, according to his family members, a group of policemen and goons came in two cars in the afternoon and barged into his house. Initially, they had an argument with him, telling him he was repeatedly told not to write anything about Verma, then they pinned him down, poured petrol on him and set him on fire,” the petition said.

“Journalist Jagendra invited Ram Murti Verma’s ire by posting reports on Facebook about illegal mining activities and land grabbing against the Minister,” it alleged.

Seeking a CBI probe, the plea said inspite all the evidence, “no arrest has been made by the police and there is every likelihood of destruction of evidence by them“.

The fact that police officials and a senior politician have been arrayed in the case as accused has shaken the confidence of public in the investigation conducted by the State police, it said, adding that “it is desirable to entrust the investigation to the CBI“.

“Safety of Indian journalists has long been compromised, particularly in small towns where the local authorities can wield enormous power. According to the PCI, a statutory press watchdog group, 79 journalists were murdered in the past two-and- a-half years in India, with very few convictions,” it said.

According to the family members of the deceased, Jagendra had posted something on Facebook against Mr. Verma regarding his alleged involvement in illegal mining and land grabbing.

The FIR was lodged under IPC 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

On June 16, the Allahabad High Court directed the State government to file a status report in the case within a week and asked it to inform it about the stage of investigation by June 24 on a PIL pleas filed by NGO ‘We The People'.





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>Graft exposé cost U.P. journalist his life

>Now, witness says Jagendra Singh immolated himself

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 3:14:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-issues-notice-to-centre-uttar-pradesh-government-on-journalists-killing/article7342370.ece

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