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'Why Is This Matter Going On And On?' : Supreme Court Grants 6 Months Extension To Complete Probe Into 2019 Hyderabad Encounter

Srishti Ojha
3 Aug 2021 7:28 AM GMT
Why Is This Matter Going On And On? : Supreme Court Grants 6 Months Extension To Complete Probe Into 2019 Hyderabad Encounter
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted an extension of 6 months for the Inquiry Commission to finish its probe into the murders of four men, accused of gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian in an alleged encounter with Hyderabad police on December 6, 2019. This has come after two previous extensions of 6 months each in July 2020 and January 2021 granted to the Inquiry Commission for...

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted an extension of 6 months for the Inquiry Commission to finish its probe into the murders of four men, accused of gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian in an alleged encounter with Hyderabad police on December 6, 2019.

This has come after two previous extensions of 6 months each in July 2020 and January 2021 granted to the Inquiry Commission for the submission of its final report. The panel was initially directed in December 2019 to conclude its investigation within 6 months and submit the report.

The probe is being headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice V S Sirpurkar. Ex Bombay HC judge Justice Rekha Baldota and former CBI Director Karthikeyan are other members of the enquiry panel.

A Division Bench comprising CJI NV Ramana and Justice Surya Kanta was hearing a PIL petition filed by Advocate GS Mani and Pradeep Kumar Yadav, who sought registration of an FIR and subsequent action against the police personnel who were involved in the alleged encounter.

During the hearing, Advocate K Parameshwar appearing for the Inquiry Commission sought an extension of 8 months saying that they have recently received a new list of 130 witnesses.

"Why is this matter going on and on. This can be done in 3-4 months. Is it necessary to enquire 130-140 witnesses in this matter? UP Matter inquiry is also over, they've submitted a report also." the Bench remarked. The bench was referring to the probe completed by the panel headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice BS Chauhan into the encounter killing of UP gangster Vikas Dubey.

Mr Parameshwar however said that the enquiry could not be completed due to the Covid pandemic

The Supreme Court had in December 2019 ordered judicial inquiry into the case and had stated that no other court or authority would conduct enquiry into the encounter killings till then, thereby staying the proceedings in the Telangana High Court and the suo moto enquiry by National Human Rights Commission on the issue.

The petitioners, GS Mani and Pradeep Kumar Yadav, had placed great reliance on the 16 guidelines issued by the SC in PUCL v. State of Maharashtra for probing police encounter killings.

As per police version, all four accused - namely Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen - were taken to the scene of the crime around 60 Km from Hyderabad at about 3 AM on December 6, 2019, for a re-construction of crime scene. Reportedly, one of them signalled to the others, possibly to escape and they tried to snatch weapons from the police personnel when the police fired on them and they died allegedly in cross firing.

The petitioners alleged that it was an encounter staged to divert the public reactions against lapses on the part of the police which led to the gang rape and murder of the woman on November 28. The petitioners alleged that the police had refused to take immediate action when the woman's family complained about her missing and even told them that their daughter might have eloped with someone.

According to the petitioners, the body language of V C Sajjanar IPS during the press conference suggested that he had no regrets over the killing. The public were feting the police officials with garlands and sweets for the encounter. If such activities are allowed, there will be no meaning for rule of law, the petitioners stated.

The Telangana High Court had taken cognisance of the encounter based on a representation received by the office of the Chief Justice on December 6th evening. The Court directed vide recording of the post-mortem proceedings, and asked the State Government to preserve the dead bodies till Monday.

The National Human Rights Commission had also taken suo moto cognisance of the killings and ordered spot inquiry.


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