3-Member Body Headed by Ex-SC Judge to Probe Hyderabad Encounter
The Supreme Court said that the inquiry needs to be completed in six months.
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The Supreme Court on Thursday, 12 December, ordered a three-member judicial inquiry into the encounter of four people accused in the gang rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Telangana, reports ANI.
According to the apex court’s directions, the probe will be headed by former SC judge VS Sirpurkar and comprise ex-Bombay HC judge Rekha Sondur Baldota and ex-CBI Director DR Karthikeyan.
The court also said that the inquiry needs to be completed in six months and no other court or authority shall inquire into this matter until further orders.
“We are of the considered view that there should be impartial inquiry into the encounter deaths of the four people accused in the gang rape and murder of a veterinarian in Telangana,” the bench said.
Telangana Defends Policemen
The bench, which includes Justices SA Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna, was hearing two public interest litigations (PILs) seeking an independent investigation into the encounter which took place the morning of 6 December.
The Telangana government, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, justified the encounter, saying the accused snatched two firearms and shot at the police. The former Attorney General said that the policemen didn’t receive any bullet injuries but were injured by the accused who were also using stones and sticks.
“... If you say they are innocent (the policemen involved in the encounter) then people must know the truth. We don’t want to assume facts. Let there be inquiry, why are you resistant to that?”SA Bobde, Chief Justice of India
The Telangana government had constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Sunday, 8 December, to probe the encounter.
Don’t Wish to Gag Media, Says SC
Speaking on the involvement of media in the case, Justice Bobde said, "We don't wish to gag media, but there needs to be some balance in certain cases."
The court has issued notice to all print and electronic media, as well as the Press Club of India, seeking their assistance on reportage of rape, murder incidents, according to PTI.
On Friday, 6 December, all four people accused in the rape and murder were killed in an encounter with the police on NH-44 near Hyderabad – the same highway where the charred body of the 27-year-old veterinarian was found.
Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar said the encounter took place when the accused were taken to the site of the crime, based on their confession, to recover material objects – cellphone, power bank and watch.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI and Live Law)
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