Tuesday 28 June 2022
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Encounter of rape suspects in Hyderabad 2019 fake: Commission

'… the accused were deliberately fired upon with an intent to cause their death,' the Supreme Court-instituted VS Sirpurkar Commission said about the encounter

In a report vindicating the widely held suspicion that the police team led by an officer with a shady track record deliberately bumped off suspects in the case of the gang- and murder of a woman veterinarian — and passed it off as an encounter — the Supreme Court-instituted Justice VS Sirpurkar Commission to probe the deaths of the four accused has stated that it believes that the accused were deliberately fired upon with an intent to cause their death. While there was widespread outrage at the rape and murder of the veterinarian at Chattanpally in Shadnagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad on 27 November 2019, justice demanded a fair trial and many citizens wanted to know more about the suspected gang that had perpetrated the criminal acts.

The commission in its report to the Supreme Court recommended action against the 10 police officers who accompanied the four accused to the crime scene early on 6 December 2019.

The three-member commission noted that it had no reason to believe that the four suspects – Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, and cousins Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen – assaulted the accompanying police officers by allegedly their weapons and firing at them. The commission also noted that Chennakeshavulu and Shiva were minors at the time of the incident, based on their school records.

“In our considered opinion, the accused were deliberately fired upon with an intent to cause their death and with the knowledge that the firing would invariably result in the death of the deceased suspects,” the report said about the ‘encounter’.

The commission recommended that police officers V Surender, K Narasimha Reddy, Shaik Lal Madhar, Mohammed Sirajuddin, Kocherla Ravi, K Venkateshwarulu, S Arvind Goud, D Janakiram, R Balu Rathod and D Srikanth are to be tried for the offences under Sections 302 (murder) read with 34 IPC, 201 read with 302 IPC and 34 IPC. The commission noted that the different acts committed by each of them were done in furtherance of the common intention to kill the deceased suspects.

The commission said further that police officials Shaik Lal Madhar, Mohammed Sirajuddin and Kocherla Ravi, who accompanied the suspects, were liable to be tried for the offence under Section 302 IPC (murder). “These officers cannot take shelter under Section 76 IPC and Exception 3 to Section 300 IPC because their contention that they fired in good faith at the deceased suspects has been disbelieved. Good faith, which is an essential pre-requisite of Section 76 IPC and Exception 3 to Section 300 IPC, is found to be clearly absent,” the commission said in its report about the ‘encounter’.

The report said, “There did not arise any occasion for exercising the right of private defence”. Consequently, the report says, “there is no question of invocation of Section 96 IPC (firstly) (private defence), 97 IPC (defence of property), 100 IPC (assault) and Exception 3 to Section 300 IPC read with Section 6 IPC. In view of the fact that the Commission has disbelieved that the deceased suspects assaulted the policemen and attempted to escape, the actions of the police officers in deliberately firing at the deceased suspects is not justified in light of Sections 46 CrPC read with 60 CrPC. In view of the fact that the Commission has disbelieved that the deceased suspects fired upon the policemen, the actions of the police officers in deliberately firing at the deceased suspects, is not justified in light of Sections 149 CrPC,’’ the report reads.

The report observes that the officers accompanying the accused to the crime scene were responsible for their safekeeping. “If either by acts or omissions they failed to fulfil their responsibility, then their common intention to cause the deaths of the deceased suspects is established. Their conduct subsequent to the deaths of the deceased suspects in falsifying the record would indicate that not only did they act in furtherance of (the) common intention to give false information in order to screen the offenders but also that, they all acted with the common intention to cause the deaths of the four deceased suspects. Res Ipsa Loquitur (the principle that the mere occurrence of some types of accident is sufficient to imply negligence.),” the report says.

The police shot dead the four suspects in an alleged under a bridge near Shadnagar early on 6 December 2019. The police had claimed that the accused were taken to the spot to recover articles belonging to the victim, and while they were at the site, the four had attacked the police officials with sticks and stones and then tried to snatch the guns.

Police claimed that the officers opened fire in self-defence, killing all four. On 12 December 2019, the Supreme Court had constituted the three-member Sirpurkar Commission to probe the incident.

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