Telangana gang-rape | National

Supreme Court panel indicts Telangana Police for killings in 2019

Members of the police and forensic experts collecting clue material including a weapon allegedly used by one of the accused to fire on the police at the site of killing of the Disha case accused at Chatanpally in Rangareddy district on December 06, 2019.

Members of the police and forensic experts collecting clue material including a weapon allegedly used by one of the accused to fire on the police at the site of killing of the Disha case accused at Chatanpally in Rangareddy district on December 06, 2019. | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

A Supreme Court-appointed Commission of Inquiry said on Friday that the Telangana police had killed the four suspects detained in the 2019 gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian in cold blood.

Three of the four shot to death were juveniles. The Inquiry Commission led by former Supreme Court judge, Justice V.S. Sirpurkar, said the police version that the four had thrown soil in the eyes of a dozen police personnel escorting them, snatched their guns and fired at them in several places was “absurd” and wholly inconceivable. The commission recommended that the police officers who were part of the extra-judicial killing should be tried for murder.

Watch | A timeline of Disha rape and murder case

Transfers case to HC

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana refused the Telangana government’s fervent pleas to keep the commission report, submitted by advocate K. Parameshwar, confidential. The court allowed the report to be placed in the public domain and transferred the case to the Telangana High Court for further proceedings.

The Inquiry Commission was appointed in December 2019 on a petition filed by advocate and petitioner, G.S. Mani, who had sought a CBI or a Special Investigation Team probe. Mr. Mani had contended that the police encounter was a red-herring, deliberately done to turn public attention away from the police's inability to prevent crimes against women.

The four accused — Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen — were killed in the early hours of December 6, 2019 when they were taken by a 12-member police team to the scene of the crime around 60 km from Hyderabad. Shiva, Naveen and Chennakeshavulu were minors, and the police knew it, the commission said.

Among the several queer twists in the police’s story, the commission found it “strange”, to say the least, that the four could have gathered enough soil in their hands to incapacitate an entire police escort team.

Fallow land

“Especially, when the scene of incident was a fallow land covered with lush green weeds and picking up soil from the ground is well-nigh impossible. A handful could have been collected only by scraping the ground with some effort, but nowhere enough to simultaneously throw in the eyes of 12 persons so as to incapacitate them and attack them,” the Commission explained.

Again, it found the nature of injuries the policemen claim they suffered in the cross-firing quite suspicious. In one instance, an officer who had a shoulder injury took CT scans of his abdomen and brain but “there was a conspicuous absence of reference to any radiological examination of the shoulder”.

The Inquiry Commission, which also comprised former Bombay High Court judge, Justice Rekha Baldota, and retired CBI director Karthikeyan, also found it unbelievable that the four, who were untrained in arms, could cock the pistols and fire at the posse unerringly.

“The evidence relating to snatching of weapons is best illustrated by the flip-flop evidence of the leader of the police party. He first states that he saw weapons being snatched from both police officers with his own eyes and later states that he only saw one and heard about the other,” the report noted.

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.

The Commission refused to believe that the four suspects opened fire at the police team. Instead, the bullet injuries on the four clearly show that careful aim was taken before firing.

“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 suspect,” the commission summed up.


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Printable version | May 21, 2022 7:36:41 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana-police-killed-4-suspects-held-for-gang-rape-murder-panel/article65440624.ece