New panel to probe Shillong jailbreak

Friday, August 20, 2010

SHILLONG - The Meghalaya government Friday appointed S.P. Rajkhowa, a retired judge of the Guwahati High Court, to probe last year’s Shillong jailbreak, an official said.

Chief Secretary W.M.S. Pariat said Justice Rajkhowa would take over charge soon.

The judicial inquiry was left mid-way by Justice (retd) D. Biswas, who took up a new assignment of the Assam government on April 10, just months before the commission was to submit its report to the government.

“Everything depends on Justice Rajkhowa, whether he takes over from where Justice Biswas left or if he would start a fresh probe. But if he (Justice Rajkhowa) feels the inquiry should be from the beginning, the government would accept it,” he said.

Seven people, including two undertrials, escaped from the Shillong jail May 31 last year. Most of them were caught again while Fullmoon Dhar, the ringleader, was gunned down by police in the Jaintia Hills.

The commission constituted by the previous D.D. Lapang-led government July 23 last year, was asked to complete the probe, including an alleged politician-criminal nexus, and submit its findings to the government by May 31.

Several social groups under the banner ‘Steering Committee Against Murder of Democracy (SCAMoD)’, pressurised the government to probe the incident.

On Thursday, SCAMoD threatened to agitate if a new judge was not appointed soon and claimed Justice Biswas’ sudden resignation was due to vested interest.

Chief Minster Mukul Sangma assured that necessary clauses would be incorporated during appointment of the new judge so that he/she completes the probe and doesn’t leave mid-way like Justice Biswas.

In March, two undertrial prisoners who had appeared before the Biswas Commission, claimed that Dhar, the ringleader who is now dead, was in touch with a “Congress Lok Sabha candidate” before he escaped from prison.

Synsharlang Thongni and Khrawborlang Marbaniang were two undertrials who, along with Dhar and four others, escaped from the Shillong jail.

A Congress district council member from Jaintia Hills, Thomas Nongtdu, is also alleged to have financed the jailbreak.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

will not be displayed