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Police deliberately killed gang-rape suspects: Panel


NEW DELHI: A Supreme Court-appointed panel that probed the alleged encounter killing of four persons in the gang-rape and murder of a young veterinarian in Hyderabad in 2019, tore into the police version of the events, saying it was “concocted”, adding the suspects were “deliberately fired upon with an intent to cause their death”.Pointing out that three of the four suspects were minors, the panel headed by retired Supreme Court judge V S Sirpurkar recommended trial of 10 accused policemen for murder.

“It cannot be said that the police party fired in self-defence or in a bid to re-arrest the deceased suspects. The record shows that entire version of the police party beginning from the safe house to the incident at Chatanpally is concocted. It was impossible for the deceased suspects to have snatched the weapons of the police and they could not have operated the fire arms.

Therefore, the entire version is unbelievable,” the report said. “...it cannot be believed that the deceased suspects might have died due to the indiscriminate firing from the pistols allegedly snatched by them and it has to be held that all the deceased suspects died due to the injuries caused by the bullets fired by the police party. It cannot also be believed the deceased suspects opened fire towards the police,” the report said. 

“After considering the entire material on record, we conclude that the deceased have not committed any offence in connection with the incident on 06.12.2019, like snatching  weapons, attempting to escape from custody, assaulting and firing at the police party,” it added.

Brushing aside the State government’s request to keep it in a sealed cover, the Supreme Court on Fri day shared the report filed by a three-member panel headed by retired Supreme Court judge V S Sirpurkar with all stakeholders and sent the case back to the Telangana High Court.

The report said the suspects, at the time of arrest, were entitled to a number of constitutional and statutory rights that were violated by the police personnel.Taking a sharp look at the criminal justice system, the panel observed that in certain aspects there is absence of clear legal provisions, but in others although legislative mandates are clear, there is laxity in enforcement, like in registration of an FIR, mandatory compliance of laws relating to arrest procedures, use of body cameras, and mandatory videography of all investigation processes.

It suggested that no police officer should hold a press conference in respect of an offence under investigation until such time as it is complete and final report filed in the concerned court.

On the night of November 27, 2019, the veterinarian, 27, was kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered near a toll plaza at Tondupally, Shamshabad and her body was dumped and burnt at Chatanpally on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

What next

Three scenarios

  1. Telangana High Court resuming hearing pending PILs, but does not take the Sirpurkar Commission report on record. Trial could then go back to the Sessions Court in the main case of gang-rape and murder
  2. If HC accepts panel’s findings, it could also take into consideration that prima facie a case has been established by the report. It can then commit the case to Sessions Court for trial
  3. State govt moves SC claiming evidence submitted before a commission of inquiry is not admissible before a court of law