‘We shall remain vigilant until it is reported to us the mystery surrounding the death of two ladies solved’

Rejecting the strong opposition by the Kashmir Bar Association against the government decision to handover the double murder case of Shopian to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a Division Bench of the High Court on Friday said that it was up to State government to handover case to CBI or continue with the probe by Special Investigation Team(SIT) of the Police.

After reserving the decision on the State government plea to shift the case to CBI, the court on Friday ordered that the government should decide whether to continue the investigation by SIT or assign the role to CBI.

On Wednesday, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir had reserved the orders on Wednesday after hearing the arguments by the Kashmir High Court Bar Association and State on the plea. The Bar Association had strongly opposed government’s intention to handover the case to CBI and pleaded that it should not be allowed.

Chief Justice said, “We make it amply clear that none of our orders , including the order dated July 4,2009 shall stand in the way of the government altering the investigation agency.”

‘Appropriate action’

However, the Bench kept the duty of the monitor to itself by ordering, which also acts as the rider, “If it is found that the statutory channel or investigating agency has not functioned properly, the Court may take appropriate action.”

“We remind the State that we shall remain vigilant until it is reported to us that the mystery surrounding the death of these two young ladies has been solved.” The bench said in its order adding “In case the failure of the CBI or any other agency, we make it clear that we would enquire whether the statutory channel of investigation has functioned properly in solving the mystery and if not, we shall be constrained to take such steps as we may feel proper and which steps we can take in accordance with the law.”

Court slams State

The court had grilled the government for its failure to book the culprits in the twin rape and murder of Asiya (17) and her sister-in-law Nelofer (22) whose bodies were recovered from a stream on the wee hours of 30 May.

“Nothing is happening so far as investigation was concerned,” the High Court had observed. The Chief Jjustice, nevertheless, asked the government whether the SIT was being permitted to do “what it wanted to do.”

The CBI has conveyed its reluctance to investigate the matter and same had been conveyed to the State government.

On 26 August last, CBI had said that the investigation agency would need the cooperation of witnesses, the help of the general public and the relatives of the deceased in the case. “In view of this, it will be difficult for CBI to take over investigations. CBI has conveyed its views to the Jammu and Kashmir Government,” a spokesman said.

Hearing deferred

Meanwhile, Justice Sunil Hali of the High Court, deferred the hearing of bail application of former superintendent of Police, Srinagar Javid Iqbal Matoo and others, accused in destruction of evidences in the Shopian twin rape and murder. It will resume ensuing Monday.

The defence counsel Aseem Mehrotra continued with the arguments that there was no proof against his clients of being involved in the offence which, he said, was also proven by the DNA report.

Additional Advocate-General A.M. Magray said that officers have remained indifferent towards the investigation and held that they allowed the destruction of evidence in the case.

It is in place to mention here that on August 6, Session’s Court in Shopian rejected the bail application of the accused under section 497 of CRPC (discretionary powers of the judge to grant bail or not) and had asserted that it was premature to grant bail to the four cops, arrested on July 16, in connection with the destruction of evidence in the twin rape and murder.