Journo killing: High Court seeks status report from UP

Journo killing: High Court seeks status report from UP
The Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government to file a status report within one week in the murder of a journalist in Shahjahanpur, in which a SP minister and five others have been booked.

The court asked government counsel to inform it about the stage of investigation by June 24 along with their objections raised during course of hearing the matter.

The order was passed by a vacation division bench of Justices Shri Narain Shukla and Pratyush Kumar on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions for a CBI probe into the killing.

The order was issued on the PIL filed by 'We The People', an NGO, on June 11.
A direction has also been sought in the petition for providing adequate compensation to the deceased scribe's family.

On behalf of the state government, Additional Advocate General Bulbul Godiyal raised preliminary objections regarding maintainability of the petition.

She contended that the FIR was lodged in this case on June 9 and soon after the PIL was filed on June 11. "It was only for gaining cheap publicity through print and electronic media by the petitioner," she alleged.

AAG also submitted that the investigation was going on and no one has come forward to question it except the petitioner, hence the PIL was not maintainable and liable to be dismissed.

She sought a week time to file these objections, which was granted by the court. The court while fixing June 24 as the next date of hearing directed the AAG to disclose the stage of the investigation of the case by this date.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Home), DGP, ADG (Law and Order) and others have been made opposite parties in this matter.

The journalist was allegedly set on fire by policemen on June 1 during a raid at his house at Vikas Colony in Sadar Bazar, Shahjahanpur.

Singh died during the treatment at a hospital in Lucknow on June 8.
An FIR was registered against Minister of State for Backward Welfare Minister Ram Murti Singh Verma and five others, including the policemen, at Puwayan police station of Shahjahanpur by victim's son Raghvendra.

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

The journalist had reportedly invited Verma's ire by posting reports on Facebook about "illegal" mining activities and land grabbing by the minister.

The video footage of dying declaration has went viral on news channels and social media showing Jagendra Singh saying, "Why did they have to burn me? If the minister and his goons had a grudge, they could have beaten me instead of pouring kerosene and burning me."

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