Madhya Pradesh: SC orders continued security for slain Cong leader's family

The bench directed that "police shall also protect the life and properties of the petitioner and his family members"

Supreme Court (photo: National Herald archives)
Supreme Court (photo: National Herald archives)
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PTI

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Madhya Pradesh police to not withdraw the security cover provided to the son and other family members of a slain Congress leader, who were allegedly facing a threat to their lives, without prior permission of the court.

A bench of justices Surya Kant and K.V. Viswanathan had earlier directed the state's DGP and superintendent of police of Damoh district to restore within 24 hours the security cover granted to Somesh Chaurasia, son of Congress leader Devendra Chaurasia, who was murdered in 2019, and some other members of the family.

It noted that the court's order of 19 January has been complied with. "An affidavit has been filed stating that the earlier security cover provided to the petitioner (Somesh) and his family members have been restored. The security cover provided shall not be withdrawn without prior permission of this court and till the trial in the murder case is completed," the bench said.

It said once the trial is over, the Damoh SP shall do an analysis of the threat perception to Somesh Chaurasia and his family members, and if at all the security cover is required to be scaled down, prior permission should be obtained from the court.

The bench directed that "police shall also protect the life and properties of the petitioner and his family members, who are prosecution witnesses in the case, from the accused and their henchmen".

It also directed the SP to assess the threat perception for other prosecution witnesses in the case until their deposition before the court and provide them security, if needed.

The bench asked the trial court to dispose of the case expeditiously and noted that Devendra Chaurasia was murdered on 15 March 2019 out of "political rivalry", and the top court had ordered security cover for his son and his family members, which was later withdrawn.

The withdrawal or reduction of security cover provided since 2019 prompted Somesh Chaurasia to move the top court for redress. On 19 January, the SC had rapped the state police, saying it was "playing with the lives" of the prosecution witnesses, and had warned Damoh SP of contempt action if their security was not restored.

In his plea, Somesh Chaurasia claimed he and his family were facing threats to their lives from the husband of former BSP MLA Rambai Singh, who is an accused in the case. On 22 July 2021, the SC cancelled the bail granted to Govind Singh, husband of Rambai Singh, and underlined that the judiciary should be immune from political pressure.

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