In a new twist to the Shopian case, the Central Bureau of Investigation has ruled out that the two women were raped or murdered as alleged by relatives and later by people in the Kashmir Valley, leading to a turmoil for nearly two months.

The CBI concluded that they died of drowning. It has also filed a charge sheet against 13 people including doctors and lawyers for misleading the investigation.

The CBI finding is contained in the final report it submitted before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday. A Bench of Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir held in-camera proceedings, after the Majlis-e-Mushawarat, the body spearheading the agitation in the case, refused to be part of the exercise. The case has been posted to the third week of February 2010.

CBI counsel Anil Bhan said: "The CBI has finalised its investigation. It is a case of drowning [in the local Rambiar Nallah]. It is neither a case of rape or murder. The CBI has chargesheeted 13 persons for fabrication of evidence."

Mr. Bhan presented a 66-page report and other documents, as directed by the court at its October 13 hearing.

The CBI charge sheet, filed in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Srinagar on December 10, indicted 13 people including six doctors and five lawyers "for misleading the investigations and fabricating evidence about rape and murder."

The CBI has also given a clean chit to five police officers, including the then Shopian SP, Javed Iqbal Mattoo, who were arrested and later suspended by the government.

PowerPoint presentation

Justice Ghosh raised some queries after the report was presented and the CBI counsel sought permission for making a PowerPoint presentation to answer them.

However, Abdur Rashid Dalal, president of the Majlis, intervened saying the Majlis did not want to be part of the CBI presentation.

"The Majlis has already expressed reservations and apprehensions and dissociated itself from the CBI. In fact, we have never been part of the CBI investigation. Like the Special Investigation Team, the CBI too is trying to hush up the case. I hope you won't allow the case to be buried by the CBI."

"Not a gospel of truth"

But the Chief Justice maintained that "the CBI report is not a gospel of truth. Without being part of the investigations, would you like to be part of the PowerPoint presentation?"

Mr. Dalal again refused, saying he had some material against the AIIMS doctors involved in exhumation of the bodies. "What is new in the report? The CBI has already made selective leaks to some selected mediapersons. Recently the CBI flouted the theory of drowning, saying the women were drowned in the shallow waters even though the Jan Commission ruled out drowning."

Presentation opposed

The PowerPoint presentation was opposed also by Shakeel Ahangar, husband and brother of the two women.

After the in-camera proceedings, the Chief Justice said Mr. Bhan submitted that the investigation was complete.

The Majlis has called a Kashmir bandh for Tuesday to protest against what it called the CBI hushing up the case.