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SC-appointed commission holds Hyderabad Encounter Case to be ‘Fake’, recommends murder charges against 10 officers

Commission headed by former Justice V.S. Sirpurkarholds that police deliberately suppressed fact that at least three deceased were minors

Sabrangindia 21 May 2022

Hyderabad Encounter Case

The Supreme Court appointed commission that probed the “encounter” killing of four suspects arrested after the 2019 rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Telangana, has recommended that the 10 police officers involved in the killing be “tried for the offences under Section 302 (murder)” as “the different acts committed by each of them were done in furtherance of common intention to kill the deceased suspects.”

The Commission constituted in December 2019 was comprised former Supreme Court Justice V. S. Sirpurkar, former Bombay High Court Justice Rekha Baldota and former CBI Director Karthikeyan. They held, “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 suspect.” The panel also found that police have deliberately attempted to suppress the fact that at least three of the deceased were minors – two of them 15 years old.

The inquiry commission had been constituted by the Supreme Court of India to report on the death of the four accused who were arrested in connection with the rape and murder of a young veterinary lady doctor, while they were in the custody of police. Significantly, the report of the Commission made public yesterday, concluded that 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 suspects.

The terms of reference of the Inquiry Commission specified in the Supreme Court order datedJanuary 10, 2020,are as follows:

  • To inquire into the alleged incident resulting in the death of four persons on 6th December, 2019 in Hyderabad, namely, Mohammed Arif, ChintakuntaChennakeshavulu, Jolu Shiva and Jollu Naveen, who were arrested in connection with the rape and murder of a young veterinary lady doctor, while they were in the custody of police.

  • To inquire into the circumstances that led to the death of afore-mentioned four persons and to ascertain as to whether any offence appears to have been committed in the course. If yes, to fix the responsibility of erring officials.

At the outset, the Commission is of the opinion, “It cannot be said that the police party fired in self-defence or in a bid to re-arrest the deceased suspects. The record shows that entire version of the police party beginning from the safe house to the incident at Chatanpally is concocted. It was impossible for the deceased suspects to have snatched the weapons of the police and they could not have operated the fire arms. Therefore, the entire version is unbelievable.”

After considering the entire material on record, the Commission concluded, “The deceased have not committed any offence in connection with the incident on 06.12.2019, like snatching the weapons, attempt to escape from the custody, assaulting and firing at the police party.”

According to the Commission, “Each one of them were responsible for the safe keeping of the four deceased suspects. 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 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 Loquitor.”

In light of the above, the Commission reported:

A) Shaik Lal Madhar, Mohammed Sirajuddin and Kocherla Ravi are liable to be tried for the offence under Section 302 IPC and 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.

B) All the 10 police officers i.e., 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 Section 302 r/w 34 IPC, 201 r/w 302 IPC and 34 IPC, as the different acts committed by each of them were done in furtherance of common intention to kill the deceased suspects.

Reg: “The deceased suspects fired at the police party even while running”

The most improbable part according to the Commission is that when one deceased suspect, Arif alleged to have attempted to escape, the police would have been alerted and they would have ensured that the other deceased suspects do not escape. According to the Commission, once they escaped and started running, it would be highly improbable that they would fire towards the police party while running. They would either run away or stand and fire at the police party. Therefore, they found it impossible for the deceased suspects to have operated the firearms. Accepting without admitting, the Commission further reasoned that even if they could operate the firearms, their aim would only be to escape. They would not stand and enter into an exchange of fire with the police. Therefore, was held that the deceased suspects could not have fired and run away simultaneously.

Reg: “The deceased suspects might have died due to the indiscriminate firing from the pistols allegedly snatched by them”

It was unclear to the Commission whether the counter firing by the police party was initiated (i) in self-defence, (ii) to apprehend the deceased suspects or (iii) to open retaliatory fire. They found no clarity on the purpose for which firing was opened and they found it quite suspicious since there is a clear admission that firing did indeed take place. The Commission highlighted the fact that the nature of firing, in terms of aim, frequency etc., would substantially differ depending upon the purpose and in the present case, all the four deceased bear gunshot wounds in their upper torso and head, lending credence to the possibility that clear aim was taken at the deceased who were visible.

The Commission held that all the deceased suspects died due to the injuries caused by the bullets fired by the police party. They simply refused to believe that the deceased suspects opened fire towards the police party.

Overall, the Commission found there to be multiple glaring discrepancies with respect to all crucial aspectsof the case, right from arrival at Chatanpally, the manner in which the police party travelled to the fifth bund, different versions of alleged recoveries, multiple versions of assault, contradictory versions on command to fire and firing. Contrary to the State of Telangana’s contentions, the Commission found these to be in fact major discrepancies.

Moreover, the Commission gravely suspects that the best evidence in respect of CCTV footage, video recording of inquest and crime scene etc has been withheld from them.

The report also noted that three out four deceased suspects namely, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and ChintakuntaChennakeshavulu, were in fact minors.

Additionally, as opposed to the State of Telangana’s contentions that all directions given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in PUCL v. State of Maharashtra, (2014) 10 SCC 635, with respect to encounter killings had been followed, the Commission held that the judgement had been followed in breach, and at best, there was only symbolic compliance.

No need to invoke the provisions of IPC

The Commission arrived at the conclusion that there did not arise any occasion for exercising the right of private defence and consequently, there was no question of invocation of IPC Section 96, 100, exception to section 300 (r/w section 6). It also concluded that the actions of the police officers are not justified in light of CrPC section 46 (r/w section 60) and section 149.

Constitutional and Statutory Rights

As per the report, the deceased suspects, at the time of arrest, were entitled to a number of constitutional and statutory rights that were violated by the police personnel. Various provisions of the Cr.P.C., the NHRC Guidelines on Arrest, the Telangana Police Manual, and several Supreme Court judgments have been violated including the following:

  1. Section 41B(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure:The deceased were not arrested by police personnel bearing accurate, visible and clear identification of their names;

  2. Section 41B(b) of the Cr.P.C.:  The police personnel did not execute an arrest memo while making the arrest, but well after the deceased suspects were picked up from their villages. Section 41B(b) requires that the arrest memos should be attested by a witness who is a member of the family of the person arrested or a respectable member of the locality where the arrest is made. However, the thumb impressions in two of the arrest memos, attributed to JolluRajaiah, are denied by him.

  3. Section 41B(c) of the Cr.P.C.: The police personnel did not inform the factum of arrest to family members or friends named by the persons being arrested

  4. Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India&Section 50 of the Cr.P.C.:The deceased suspects were not made aware of the grounds on which the arrests were made

  5. Section 41D of the Cr.P.C.:The deceased were not given the right to meet an advocate of their choice during their interrogation

The statutory provisions required to be complied at the time of the remandto judicial custody of the deceased suspects had been violated:

  1. Irregularities pertaining to the conduct of medical examination of the deceased

  2. The time at which Sri J Pandu, the Executive Magistrate(CW-9) arrived at the police station is unclear

  3. Several illegalities in the remand proceedings

The report may be read here:

Related:

Who killed the Hyderabad rape accused?
Investigate Hyderabad encounter: CHRI
Hyderabad police ‘encounters’ intervention from NHRC, HC

SC-appointed commission holds Hyderabad Encounter Case to be ‘Fake’, recommends murder charges against 10 officers

Commission headed by former Justice V.S. Sirpurkarholds that police deliberately suppressed fact that at least three deceased were minors

Hyderabad Encounter Case

The Supreme Court appointed commission that probed the “encounter” killing of four suspects arrested after the 2019 rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Telangana, has recommended that the 10 police officers involved in the killing be “tried for the offences under Section 302 (murder)” as “the different acts committed by each of them were done in furtherance of common intention to kill the deceased suspects.”

The Commission constituted in December 2019 was comprised former Supreme Court Justice V. S. Sirpurkar, former Bombay High Court Justice Rekha Baldota and former CBI Director Karthikeyan. They held, “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 suspect.” The panel also found that police have deliberately attempted to suppress the fact that at least three of the deceased were minors – two of them 15 years old.

The inquiry commission had been constituted by the Supreme Court of India to report on the death of the four accused who were arrested in connection with the rape and murder of a young veterinary lady doctor, while they were in the custody of police. Significantly, the report of the Commission made public yesterday, concluded that 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 suspects.

The terms of reference of the Inquiry Commission specified in the Supreme Court order datedJanuary 10, 2020,are as follows:

  • To inquire into the alleged incident resulting in the death of four persons on 6th December, 2019 in Hyderabad, namely, Mohammed Arif, ChintakuntaChennakeshavulu, Jolu Shiva and Jollu Naveen, who were arrested in connection with the rape and murder of a young veterinary lady doctor, while they were in the custody of police.

  • To inquire into the circumstances that led to the death of afore-mentioned four persons and to ascertain as to whether any offence appears to have been committed in the course. If yes, to fix the responsibility of erring officials.

At the outset, the Commission is of the opinion, “It cannot be said that the police party fired in self-defence or in a bid to re-arrest the deceased suspects. The record shows that entire version of the police party beginning from the safe house to the incident at Chatanpally is concocted. It was impossible for the deceased suspects to have snatched the weapons of the police and they could not have operated the fire arms. Therefore, the entire version is unbelievable.”

After considering the entire material on record, the Commission concluded, “The deceased have not committed any offence in connection with the incident on 06.12.2019, like snatching the weapons, attempt to escape from the custody, assaulting and firing at the police party.”

According to the Commission, “Each one of them were responsible for the safe keeping of the four deceased suspects. 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 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 Loquitor.”

In light of the above, the Commission reported:

A) Shaik Lal Madhar, Mohammed Sirajuddin and Kocherla Ravi are liable to be tried for the offence under Section 302 IPC and 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.

B) All the 10 police officers i.e., 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 Section 302 r/w 34 IPC, 201 r/w 302 IPC and 34 IPC, as the different acts committed by each of them were done in furtherance of common intention to kill the deceased suspects.

Reg: “The deceased suspects fired at the police party even while running”

The most improbable part according to the Commission is that when one deceased suspect, Arif alleged to have attempted to escape, the police would have been alerted and they would have ensured that the other deceased suspects do not escape. According to the Commission, once they escaped and started running, it would be highly improbable that they would fire towards the police party while running. They would either run away or stand and fire at the police party. Therefore, they found it impossible for the deceased suspects to have operated the firearms. Accepting without admitting, the Commission further reasoned that even if they could operate the firearms, their aim would only be to escape. They would not stand and enter into an exchange of fire with the police. Therefore, was held that the deceased suspects could not have fired and run away simultaneously.

Reg: “The deceased suspects might have died due to the indiscriminate firing from the pistols allegedly snatched by them”

It was unclear to the Commission whether the counter firing by the police party was initiated (i) in self-defence, (ii) to apprehend the deceased suspects or (iii) to open retaliatory fire. They found no clarity on the purpose for which firing was opened and they found it quite suspicious since there is a clear admission that firing did indeed take place. The Commission highlighted the fact that the nature of firing, in terms of aim, frequency etc., would substantially differ depending upon the purpose and in the present case, all the four deceased bear gunshot wounds in their upper torso and head, lending credence to the possibility that clear aim was taken at the deceased who were visible.

The Commission held that all the deceased suspects died due to the injuries caused by the bullets fired by the police party. They simply refused to believe that the deceased suspects opened fire towards the police party.

Overall, the Commission found there to be multiple glaring discrepancies with respect to all crucial aspectsof the case, right from arrival at Chatanpally, the manner in which the police party travelled to the fifth bund, different versions of alleged recoveries, multiple versions of assault, contradictory versions on command to fire and firing. Contrary to the State of Telangana’s contentions, the Commission found these to be in fact major discrepancies.

Moreover, the Commission gravely suspects that the best evidence in respect of CCTV footage, video recording of inquest and crime scene etc has been withheld from them.

The report also noted that three out four deceased suspects namely, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and ChintakuntaChennakeshavulu, were in fact minors.

Additionally, as opposed to the State of Telangana’s contentions that all directions given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in PUCL v. State of Maharashtra, (2014) 10 SCC 635, with respect to encounter killings had been followed, the Commission held that the judgement had been followed in breach, and at best, there was only symbolic compliance.

No need to invoke the provisions of IPC

The Commission arrived at the conclusion that there did not arise any occasion for exercising the right of private defence and consequently, there was no question of invocation of IPC Section 96, 100, exception to section 300 (r/w section 6). It also concluded that the actions of the police officers are not justified in light of CrPC section 46 (r/w section 60) and section 149.

Constitutional and Statutory Rights

As per the report, the deceased suspects, at the time of arrest, were entitled to a number of constitutional and statutory rights that were violated by the police personnel. Various provisions of the Cr.P.C., the NHRC Guidelines on Arrest, the Telangana Police Manual, and several Supreme Court judgments have been violated including the following:

  1. Section 41B(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure:The deceased were not arrested by police personnel bearing accurate, visible and clear identification of their names;

  2. Section 41B(b) of the Cr.P.C.:  The police personnel did not execute an arrest memo while making the arrest, but well after the deceased suspects were picked up from their villages. Section 41B(b) requires that the arrest memos should be attested by a witness who is a member of the family of the person arrested or a respectable member of the locality where the arrest is made. However, the thumb impressions in two of the arrest memos, attributed to JolluRajaiah, are denied by him.

  3. Section 41B(c) of the Cr.P.C.: The police personnel did not inform the factum of arrest to family members or friends named by the persons being arrested

  4. Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India&Section 50 of the Cr.P.C.:The deceased suspects were not made aware of the grounds on which the arrests were made

  5. Section 41D of the Cr.P.C.:The deceased were not given the right to meet an advocate of their choice during their interrogation

The statutory provisions required to be complied at the time of the remandto judicial custody of the deceased suspects had been violated:

  1. Irregularities pertaining to the conduct of medical examination of the deceased

  2. The time at which Sri J Pandu, the Executive Magistrate(CW-9) arrived at the police station is unclear

  3. Several illegalities in the remand proceedings

The report may be read here:

Related:

Who killed the Hyderabad rape accused?
Investigate Hyderabad encounter: CHRI
Hyderabad police ‘encounters’ intervention from NHRC, HC

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