BHOPAL: Gwalior Bench of High Court, on Tuesday, ordered Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI) inquiry into Ratangarh stampede of Datia district that claimed 116 lives on the occasion of ‘ Durga Navmi’ last month.

High Court has fixed points of reference for the investigation. They include whether policemen were involved in money extortion from devotees? Did police officials spread rumour of bridge collapse? Did police resort to lathi charge? Did police throw bodies into the river? Did police try to interfere in the inquiry so far? The Court also clarified that CBI probe will not influence the ongoing judicial probe ordered by the state government. Right to Information ( RTI) activist Gaurav Pandey had filed the

Justice GD Saxena has given the instruction for the CBI investigation. Advocate Avdhesh Singh Bhadoria, who appeared on behalf of RTI activist Pandey, said the court ordered a CBI probe into the matter.

He said that the state government had not disclosed the contents of the report of a judicial probe into an earlier mishap on the same spot that took place in 2006 in which over 50 pilgrims were washed away. The petitioner alleged that police and administrative authorities are destroying the evidence and trying to shield guilty officials.

Additional Advocate General MPS Raghuvanshi confirmed that the court had directed a CBI probe into the stampede and instructed to fix the responsibility of officials concerned.

On October 13,2013, at least 116 people were killed and over 100 injured in a stampede during Navratri festivities near a temple in Datia district triggered by rumours that a river bridge the devotees were crossing was about to collapse.

The state government had ordered a judicial inquiry into the mishap which was a shocking re- run of the tragedy at the same site in 2006 when 50 pilgrims were washed away.

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