The 1996 Bhaderwah triple-murder case came to haunt the J-K director general of police Kuldeep Khuda on Friday when the high court described it as "serious matter" and listed it for hearing on September 30.
"It needs the assistance of other side," said justice Hasnain Masoodi while hearing the petition of the victim families in front of jam-packed courtroom. The judge listed the case for September 30 and sought the presence of Kashmir's advocate general Ishaq Qadri on the day of hearing.
The petition says four people - Fazal Hussain Dar, Mohammad Hussian, Fareed Ahmad and Talib Hussain - were allegedly picked up by men in a police vehicle on January 3, 1996. According to the victim families, the bodies of three arrested persons were thrown into river Chenab in Jammu division's Bhaderwah district later. One held person Talib Hussaib succeeded to escape from the clutches of men who abducted them and later shared the tale.
A case was filed with the police after the investigations directed by the chief judicial magistrate court Bhaderwah. The victim families, however, not satisfied with the investigation approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). It directed the police's crime branch to investigate the case.
The then additional superintendent of police (ASP) of crime branch Bachan Singh Choudhary indicts Kuldeep Khuda, the then DIG Doda-Udhampur range, for his role in the case. The ASP was immediately removed from the investigation cell and ASP Shikha Goel took over. Goel concluded there was tampering with evidences. Do not show the report.
Pleading the victims' case before the high court, advocate Parvez Imroz sought a court direction to conduct a fresh investigation in the case. "We need to identify the actual accused and probe the involvement of the Khoda in the killings, who was then posted as DIG Doda-Udhampur range," said Imroz.
In its petition - Nazeera Begum and Shaheena Begum, wives of victims Fazal Hussain Dar and Mohammad Hussian - cited the crime branch report and called for a CBI investigation. Nazeera Begum's 17-year-old son Fareed Ahmad was also killed in the incident.
"The victims were deprived of the fair investigation and fair trial," said Imroz.
The petition alleged "the investigation was faulty and dishonest in order to shield the actual culprits".