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Encounter of 4 suspects 'deliberate': SC panel

Encounter of 4 suspects deliberate: SC panel
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Hyderabad: A three-member inquiry commission on the encounter killings of four suspects in a case of gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian (named changed as Disha) here in December 2019 revealed that the firing by the police personnel was deliberate.

The Commission headed by Apex Court judge Justice (since retired) V S Sirpurkar also revealed that they opined that three of the deceased were minor at the time of death.

The four suspects — Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jolu Shiva and Jollu Naveen — were arrested in connection with the gang-rape and murder of a veterinary lady doctor on November 29, 2019. The Commission in its 387-page report opined that there are a lot of discrepancies in the police version with regards to the two of the deceased throwing mud and soil at police, stanching weapons from police and firing indiscriminately.

The four suspects were killed in an alleged encounter by police on December 6 at Chattanpally near here — the same highway — where the charred body of the 25-year old veterinarian was found.

The police had accused that on November 27, 2019, the woman veterinarian was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and later found murdered. They had said that the accused had subsequently burned the body of the woman.

"In our considered opinion, the accused were deliberately fired upon with an intent to cause their death and with the knowledge that the firing would invariably result in the death of the deceased suspect," the Commission report which was submitted to the Supreme Court said.

The record shows that the entire version of the police party beginning from the safe house to the incident at Chatanpally is concocted. It was impossible for the deceased suspects to have snatched the weapons of the police and they could not have operated the firearms. Therefore, the entire version is unbelievable, the report opined.

The panel also opined that all the ten police officials are to be tried for the offences under Section 302 (murder) r/w 34 IPC, 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence) r/w 302 IPC and 34 IPC, as the different acts committed by each of them were done in furtherance of common intention to kill the deceased suspects.

It was also contended by the parents of the deceased that their children are juveniles. During the course of the inquiry, it also came to light that the constitutional and statutory rights of the deceased suspects at the time of their arrest and remand to judicial and police custody appear to have been violated, the report stated.

The commission also found fault with the Judicial Magistrate who granted police custody of the deceased accused, citing that the law official did not insist on relevant documents from the police.

According to the panel, there is a grave suspicion that the best evidence in respect of CCTV footage, video recording of inquest and crime scene, etc has been withheld from the Commission.

Even as regards the claim of two policemen of having sustained injuries on the day of the incident, the Commission found "multiple contradictions and absurdities."

Referring to the Ballistics Expert's opinion the Commission said, it is not possible for an untrained person to identify the safety switch and thereafter fire the weapon.

It is also not conceivable that within a short span of time, as alleged by the police, the deceased suspects snatched the weapons, cocked the pistol and used it to fire on the police personnel.

Making certain recommendations as to what should be followed, the Commission said "Just as mob lynching is unacceptable, so is any idea of instant justice. At any point in time, Rule of Law must prevail. Punishment for crime has to be only by the procedure established by law."

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