Assam editorís murder: CBI under scanner

The acquittal of the main accused in the murder of prominent Guwahati-based journalist Parag Kumar Das has shocked Assam and also brought to the fore shortcomings in the CBI's investigation.

"The judgment ( by the Kamrup Metro District and Sessions Court) has exposed the hollowness of our inquiry and law system," said Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, editor of Asomiya Pratidin, of which Das was executive editor.

Das was killed in broad daylight on May 17, 1996 while picking up his son from school. The case was handed over to the CBI by the state government after the Assam Police could not make any headway in the first two years.

But in Tuesday's judgment, District and Sessions Judge Dilip Kumar Phukan is understood to have pointed out several loopholes in the CBI inquiry which included failure to come up with any concrete and conclusive evidence against the accused, Mridul Phukan, a surrendered ULFA militant.

The CBI had chargesheeted Phukan and three other former ULFA militants named in the case, but the other three had died in the meantime.

In an interview with a private TV news channel here last evening, Phukan himself said that the CBI had never interrogated him except for asking a few questions on four or five occasions. The police or the CBI had also never arrested Phukan in connection with the case.

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