Nearly two months after they were arrested, Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday granted bail to four police officials including the suspended SP Javed Iqbal Matoo in the Shopian rape and double murder case.
The order was passed by Justice Sunil Hali on Friday after he had reserved the the same on September eight. The four police officials including Matoo, Dy SP Rohit Baskotra, SHO Shafeeq Ahmad and sub-inspector Qazi Abdul Karim have been asked to furnish a bail bond of Rs 15,000.
They were arrested on July 15 on the orders given by a division bench of the High Court for allegedly destroying the evidence in case of alleged rape and murder of Neelofar (22) and Aasiya (17), whose bodies were found on May 30 from a stream in Shopian, 70 kilometers from here.
Justice Hali had reserved the orders after defence counsel for the police officers Aseem Mehrotra concluded his counter- arguments by claiming that the police officials were being made scapegoats by the government.
Advocate General Mohammad Ishaq Qadri and Kashmir High Court Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom, during their arguments, had opposed the bail plea of the officers.
The Jammu and Kashmir Government has already handed over the case to the CBI and was waiting for the agency to take a decision on taking up the investigation.
Mehrotra had created sensation in the court earlier this week by alleging that the injury form filled by doctors during the first post-mortem examination on bodies of the victims Neelofar Jan and her teenaged sister-in-law Aasiya Jan, were removed from the case file.
"The first injury form filled by the doctors showed just a linear injury, which means a superficial cut, and there was no mention of incisive cut. It was removed from the case file," the lawyer said.
When asked about the basis of his claim, Mehrotra said he had managed to get that injury form. He later submitted the form to the court.
Justice Hali had made some scathing observations during earlier hearings about the investigations of the SIT saying it seemed that it was restricted to determining the role of the arrested police officers in the case.
"The directions of the Division Bench on narco analysis of the witnesses (who deposed under section 164-A) and expanding the scope of investigation have not been followed," Justice Hali had observed.
"The SIT has not gone into the failure of the doctors to conduct the full post-mortem. There is nothing on record to suggest that anything has been done with regard to fudging of the slides (containing vaginal smears)," he added.
Mehrotra continued his arguments saying Dr Nighat Shaheen, the gynaecologist who was part of the second post mortem team, should be interrogated.