The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday booked Indian Army Major Vijay Singh Balhara in connection with the killing of a 12-year-old boy in Manipur’s Imphal West in 2009, reported PTI.
Balhara, who was at the time attached with the Assam Rifles, has been named an accused along with seven policemen in the killing of Azad Khan from Phoubakchao Makha Leikai area. The accused allegedly dragged Khan out of his house and shot him dead in front of his parents in the presence of 21 other policemen, The Indian Express reported.
On Monday, the Supreme Court had pulled up the central agency for its handling of cases of alleged fake encounters. “According to you, there are 14 murderers in these cases and they are loafing around Manipur freely?” the court said. “You have not arrested any of them? The CBI filed FIRs against dead persons who are victims. This is unbelievable.”
In response, the CBI said it had filed two chargesheets.
The CBI said on Thursday that Khan’s father, Wahid Ali, had deposed before the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Santosh Hegde Commission that his son was killed by “the personnel of Manipur Police Commando in a fake encounter after being picked up from his home” on March 4, 2009. The commission, set up to examine alleged fake encounters, had said that the first information report had been filed two months before the killing.
“According to the security forces’ evidence, the deceased was suspected to be a member of the Peoples United Liberation Front,” the commission said. However, it added that the Manipur government had not banned the front.
The security forces locked Azad’s parents and relatives in a room from where they could see the boy being beaten up and then killed, the panel’s report said. It also said there were serious contradictions between Balhara’s testimony and those of the other witnesses.
The commission also wondered how 21 heavily-armed policemen could have failed to overpower the victim when he was running away.