Bodies of men killed in Telangana encounter to be preserved, next hearing on Thursday, says high court
All the four accused were gunned down by the police on Friday morning at Chattanpalli when they were taken to the scene of crime.Updated: Dec 09, 2019 16:40 IST
The Telangana High Court on Monday directed the police to preserve the bodies of four rape accused, killed in a police encounter, till December 13 (Friday). The next hearing in the case will take place on Thursday. The court is hearing a petition against the encounter deaths of the four men - Mohammed Areef, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chenna Keshavulu - accused of raping and killing a 26-year-old veterinary doctor last month.
The high court, which heard a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition by a group of human rights activists on Monday, ordered that the police shift the bodies of the accused to Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad from the mortuary of Mahabubnagar government hospital where they were preserved after autopsy on Friday night.
The Mahabubnagar police also requested the high court to allow shifting of the bodies to Hyderabad due to lack of facilities in the district hospital to preserve them for a long time and also on account of law and order problems.
The high court asked state advocate general B S Prasad if the Cyberabad police had followed Supreme Court guidelines while resorting to firing in the encounter and asked him to produce the documentary evidence for the same, apart from video recording of the post-mortem procedure.
The advocate general sought time till Thursday to furnish the details and documents.
The petitioners, including women activists and human rights activists, filed the petition in the high court soon after the encounter, seeking judicial intervention in alleged ‘extra judicial killings’ of the four accused by the Cyberabad police.
Meanwhile, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Telangana government on Sunday night to investigate the encounter, commenced its work on Monday.
The SIT will probe the case under various sections of IPC, along with other all related cases registered in Telangana state as per the Supreme Court guidelines. The team members are also expected to visit the encounter site in a day or two.
All the four accused were gunned down by the police on Friday morning at Chattanpalli when they were taken to the scene of crime near the culvert beneath of it where the charred remains of the veterinarian were found on November 28. The police recovered her phone, wrist watch and other things from the spot.
The Cyberabad Police had said its personnel resorted to “retaliatory” firing after two of the accused opened fire at police after snatching their weapons besides attacking them with stones and sticks, resulting in injuries to two cops.
While the police action has largely come in for praise, it also evoked concerns over extra-judicial executions.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had taken suo motu cognisance of the encounter and ordered probe. The seven-member NHRC team, which arrived in Telangana on Saturday, continued its probe for the third consecutive day on Monday. The team recorded the statements from the police officials involved in the encounter and also with the revenue officials who conducted the inquest after the encounter, an official in the Cyberabad police commissionerate familiar with the development said.
The NHRC team, including a forensic medicine expert, had examined the bodies at a mortuary at a state-run hospital in Mahabubnagar district. It also visited the nearby encounter site and recorded statements of the family members of the four men killed in the encounter and the kin of the veterinary doctor.
The four were arrested on November 29 for allegedly raping and killing the 26-year-old woman by smothering her and later burning the body.