Rajkhowa panel gets another extension

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Ending uncertainty over the fate of Justice (retd) SP Rajkhowa Judicial Inquiry Commission probing the infamous Shillong jail break case of May 31,2009, the State Government has given an extension of three more months for the panel to complete the probe.

The inquiry had hit hurdles after the Government did not give extension to carry on with the probe since July last.

The Government had also sought a status report from the Commission to justify the reasons for granting further extension as there was undue delay in completion of the probe .

Though the inquiry has already cost the state exchequer over Rs 1 crore, there has been no headway as far as the probe is concerned.

It was after going through the status report of the Commission that the Government decided to grant further extension.

An official associated with the Commission said on Saturday that the Commission got an extension of three months on October 11 and he added that this would be the last extension.

This means that the Commission will have to complete the probe by January 10, 2013.

“We will not be able to give any more extension since much time was taken and money spent for the probe”, the official added.

The primary reason for the delay was that the Steering Committee Against Murder of Democracy (SCAMoD), which was formed to follow up the jailbreak case, had sought the intervention of the Shillong Bench of the Gauhati High Court to examine more witnesses. The Court verdict on the matter took more time.

After the last hearing in July, the Commission had sought an extension of three months to complete the report after examining some more witnesses as per the court verdict following the petition filed by Agnes Kharshiing, who is pursuing the jailbreak case on behalf of the SCAMoD.

The task of the Commission was to probe the circumstances which led to the escape of seven under trials led by the mastermind Fullmoon Dhar on May 31, 2009. A day after the jail break, Dhar was killed in an alleged fake encounter.

The Commission will also look into the angle of fake encounter.

It was on July 23, 2009 that the Government had first appointed Justice (retd) D Biswas to conduct the judicial probe.

Since Biswas was appointed as Up-Lokayukta in Assam in April 2010, he could not complete the task. Later, the Government on August 20, 2010 appointed the SP Rajkhowa Commission of Inquiry.

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