Hearing a ‘missing person’ case dating back to 2002, the Jammu and Kashmir high court on Thursday passed an order to arrest an army officer.
“Instead of approaching the authorities for prosecution of Major Kishore Malhotra for offence punishable under Section 364 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), the SIT
(of the police) should have arrested the Major and subjected him to custodial interrogation,” observed a single bench of the high court.
The court made these observations while hearing the petition filed by the victim’s relatives.
The victim, Manzoor Ahmad Dar, was never seen after he was allegedly picked up by Major Malhotra and his men, associated with 35 Rashtriya Rifles of the army, on the night of January 18, 2002, from Rawalpora locality of uptown Srinagar.
“The SIT (special investigation team) should have taken the investigation ahead to find out circumstances in which Dar was picked up and whether he was subjected to custodial disappearance,” observed the court.
The court directed the SIT to proceed with the investigation as directed and file a status report of the probe by the next hearing.
Dar’s wife Jana Begam has been claiming that an army contingent led by the army officer made Dar disappear in custody.
The high court had directed the chief judicial magistrate to probe the incident. In the judicial inquiry, the CJM established that Dar was picked up by 35 Rashtriya Rifles personnel on night of January 18, 2002, and later he remained untraced.
In 2009, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the high court directing the accused Major to appear before the SIT.