Batla encounter verdict corners Digvijay

Batla encounter verdict corners Digvijay

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, who had questioned the authenticity of the Batla House encounter, stood isolated on Thursday with a Delhi court convicting a suspected Indian Mujahideen operative for murdering a police officer and assaulting others.

The encounter took place few months ahead of the general elections and Union Minister Salman Khurshid had also referred to it during the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections last year.

Khurshid had claimed that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had cried inconsolably on seeing the photographs of the Batla house encounter.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who as Home Minister had monitored the investigation, said the September 2008 encounter was genuine and was satisfied that the Delhi Police could prove the same in court.

BJP leaders welcomed the verdict and said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should now state whether Chidambaram was right or Singh.

The Congress on Thursday chose to downplay Singh’s comments contending that the same could have been made in a “surcharged atmosphere” and should not be given credence now. Chidambaram also sought to downplay Singh’s remarks saying his party colleagues were simply reflecting the views they had heard. “I had access to the materials and I was quite satisfied that it was a genuine encounter,” he said.
Singh on Thursday said he respected the verdict and it was for the aggrieved party to decide whether to appeal in a higher court.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said all sections should accept the verdict and guard against politicising the issue as it could undermine the morale of the police.The Samajwadi Party, too, had demanded a judicial probe but the then Home Minister P Chidambaram asserted that the encounter was genuine and there was no scope to reopen the matter.

 Singh said he had demanded a judicial probe into the encounter which was denied by the government. “I had asked for a judicial inquiry into the encounter which I felt ­was fully justified but it was denied. I reiterate my earlier stand,” Singh said.

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