The Supreme Court on Thursday set up an inquiry commission led by its former judge, Justice V.S. Sirpurkar, to probe the circumstances of the police ‘encounter’ accused in the gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad. in December.
A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, asked the inquiry commission, which includes former Bombay High Court judge, Justice Rekha Baldota, and the former CBI Director, D.R. Karthikeyan, to complete its investigation in six months. Advocate K. Parameshwar was appointed the counsel for the Inquiry Commission. The commission will sit in Hyderabad.
The Bench gave the Inquiry Commission six months to complete the probe. The Commission would sit in Hyderabad.
“We are of the considered view that there should be some enquiry,” CJI Bobde observed.
Meanwhile, the court issued notice to the Press Trust of India and the Press Council of India, “who represent the electronic and print media in the country”, to respond in four weeks to a plea made by advocate M.L. Sharma to restrain media from reporting in the Inquiry Commission proceedings.
The Telangana government, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, welcomed an impartial probe. “I (Telangana government) have no problem... There is no difficulty... A magisterial enquiry has also been ordered,” Mr. Rohatgi submitted.
The government said it had registered an FIR against the four dead accused for attempting to murder policemen. “We don't think your trial for non-existing, dead accused will take you anywhere,” CJI Bobde drily dismissed the submission.
The four accused — Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen — were taken to the scene of the crime around 60 km from Hyderabad in the early hours of December 6 for a re-construction of crime scene. The Telangana government stuck to its version that the accused men surprised their police escort there, grabbed their guns and tried to kill the policemen to escape custody. The posse retaliated and the four were killed in the cross firing. However, the police team sustained no injuries in the incident, the State emphasised.
The petition filed by Supreme Court advocate and petitioner, G.S. Mani, had sought a CBI or a Special Investigation Team probe against Cyberabad Police Commissioner V.C. Sajjanar, who is a respondent in the petition. Mr. Mani had said the encounter was a red-herring, deliberately done to turn public attention away from the police's inability to prevent such crimes against women.