Panel probing encounter of 4 rape, murder accused in Telangana submits report to SC
HYDERABAD: An inquiry commission constituted by the Supreme Court to probe the killing of four men in an alleged exchange of fire with the police in December 2019 after their arrest for a sensational rape and murder has submitted its report to the apex court on Saturday.
The commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice V S Sirpurkar and comprising former Bombay high court judge justice RP Sondur Baldota and former director of Central Bureau of Investigation D R Kaarthikeyan, completed its task after an elaborate inquiry.
The Supreme Court is expected to take up the commission’s report on February 18, a senior advocate said on condition of anonymity. The lawyer said the commission appeared to have raised questions on the police version.
Four men – Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen – were accused of raping and killing a veterinarian and burning her body at Chatanpally near Shadnagar about 50 km away from Hyderabad on November 28 2019.
The accused were arrested three days later and when they were in police custody, the Cyberabad police killed them in an alleged encounter on December 6, 2019.
While many including the family of the veterinarian hailed the killing of the four accused, several human rights activists and family members of the four suspects disputed the police version.
Four lawyers, Gunaratan Sadavarte and Jayashree from Mumbai and Supreme Court advocates GS Mani and Pradeep Kumar Yadav from Delhi, filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, seeking a comprehensive inquiry into the alleged encounter killings. The National Human Rights Commission also simultaneously ordered a probe into the killing of the four men.
On December 12 2019, the Supreme Court constituted a three-member inquiry commission headed by justice Sirpurkar to probe the death of the four suspects. The commission was given six months to complete its inquiry but the deadline was extended on multiple occasions, in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the commission said it has collected various documentary records including investigation records, forensic reports, post mortem reports, photographs and videos concerning the scene of the incident, etc.
“It held hearings for 47 days between August 21 and November 15, 2021. It examined 57 witnesses during this period and recorded their evidence. The hearings were held publicly subject to Covid-19 restrictions. The advocates for Telangana government, the police officials and other parties concerned took part in the hearings,” the official note said.
The commission also heard oral arguments from all the advocates between November 16 and 26. The commission members also inspected the various places associated with the incident on December 5, it added.