SC Panel grills lorry owner in Disha case
Accused Chennakesavulu’s hair was like late Guru Sathya Sai Baba: Transporter Reddy
The three-member commission constituted by the Supreme Court to inquire into the Cyberabad police alleged encounter killings of the four accused in the rape and murder of Disha, a 27-year-old veterinarian, in December 2019, has found inconsistencies in the statements of Srinivas Reddy, the owner of the lorry used by the accused persons, given to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), recorded after the incident.
Mr. Reddy was questioned at length by former judge Justice V. S. Sirpurkar, former Bombay High Court judge Rekha Sondur Baldota and former director of the CBI D. R. Karthikeyan, and the commission’s advocate Parameshwar.
Mr. Reddy told the commission that his driver and accused Mohammed Arif’s phone was seized by the officials of Road Transport Authority, but it was not mentioned in his statement to the NHRC.
When questioned if he had verified Arif’s heavy vehicle license before employing him and what he had told the NHRC about the same question, the transporter mentioned that “I do not remember what I had stated to NHRC about Arif’s license.”
Mr. Reddy had described one of the rape and murder accused, Ch. Chennakesavulu, as having long curly hair which looked like the hair of Sathya Sai Baba.
“When police showed me the video footage of surveillance cameras in which the accused persons movements were captured, I could not identify all of them as the faces were not clear, and sent the same to another driver Jaffar, who identified and told me that it was Chennakesavulu,” he said.
On November 28, 2019, Mr. Reddy took the police to the residence of lorry driver Arif at Jaklair in Narayanpet district, which led to the arrest of the latter and three others — Chennakesavulu, Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen.
He said that on the night of November 26, 2019, lorry driver Arif called him from Chennakesavulu’s phone to inform him that they reached Tondupally toll plaza. “When I asked why Chennakesavulu and Naveen were with him, as the vehicle cleaner was Shiva, Arif told me that they had a party and therefore he brought them,” Mr. Reddy said.
Later, the panel grilled the transporter for not paying the Income Tax and not maintaining accounts for his business. They posed 120 questions to him and later commented that he was the ‘champaign’ of all witnesses in the case.