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Telangana HC Orders Magisterial Inquiry Into Death of Saidabad Rape Accused

Raju’s body was cremated in Warangal before an independent post-mortem could be done, as demanded by activists.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Raising suspicion over Raju's death, activists from various human rights organisations approached the Telangana High Court.</p></div>
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A day after the Saidabad rape and murder accused Pallakonda Raju was found dead on a railway track, the Telangana High Court ordered a magisterial inquiry into the circumstances of his death on Friday, 17 September.

Hearing a petition from activists who raised suspicions over the circumstances that led to Raju’s death, the High Court directed a magisterial inquiry into the suspicious death by the 3rd Metropolitan Magistrate, Warangal.

The Magistrate has been asked to submit the report within four weeks. The inquiry will be attended by the police and Raju's family members.

The incident of rape and murder of a six-year-old girl in Saidabad came to light on 9 September. For a week, the Hyderabad police carried out an extensive manhunt for the accused Raju amid massive public outrage.
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A week later, on Thursday, 16 September, Raju was found dead on the railway tracks at Station Ghanpur near Warangal. Police claimed that on Thursday morning, an eye witness called the Station Ghanpur police to report that a man running on the track was hit by the Konark Express and died on the spot.

Warangal Commissioner of Police Tarun Joshi claimed that it was a clear case of suicide based on the account of the eyewitness.

However, raising suspicion over Raju’s death, activists from various human rights organisations approached the Telangana High Court on Thursday, asking to halt Raju’s cremation and calling for an independent post-mortem monitored by the High Court.

They asked the court to direct that a special team of forensic experts and autopsy surgeons be formed from outside Telangana to carry out an independent post-mortem and video-graphing of the post-mortem, as per National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) guidelines, failing which the state authorities would be enabled to conduct a hurried post mortem and compromise facts before cremating Raju’s body.

They also sought an investigation into the circumstances that lead to Raju’s death and called for the transfer of investigations into the rape and murder case to an independent group of senior officers.

However, Raju’s body was cremated in Warangal on Thursday night, at Pothanagar crematorium in Warangal city amid tight police security. A post-mortem was conducted at Warangal's Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM) hospital before the body was handed over to Raju’s family.

A copy of the postmortem report will be handed over to the Warangal District Judge on 18 September, who will in turn hand it over to the Telangana High Court.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute)

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