The Supreme Court-appointed Commission of Inquiry on Friday (May 20) said in its report that the Telangana police’s encounter killing of the gang-rape and murder accused in Hyderabad in 2019 was “staged” and they were “deliberately fired upon”.
The commission has recommended murder charges against more than 10 police personnel, according to reports.
“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 suspect,” the report said, according to NDTV.
The probe panel report said three of the four accused were minors at the time.
“We are of the opinion that at the relevant time, Jolu Shiva, Jolu Naveen, and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu were minors,” it said.
“After considering the entire material on record, we conclude that 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,” the report said.
On Friday, the Supreme Court ordered sharing of the sealed cover report of the inquiry commission and transferred the matter to the Telangana High Court for further action.
A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli did not agree to the submissions of senior advocate Shyam Divan that the report be kept in a sealed cover.
“This relates to the encounter case. There is nothing to keep here. The Commission has found someone guilty. We want to send the matter to the high court,” the bench said.
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“We have to send the case back to the high court, we cannot monitor this case. A detailed report is submitted. Question is what is the proper action to be taken. They have made some recommendations,” the bench said, adding, “We direct the commission secretariat to provide a copy of the report to both parties…”
In November 2019, a woman veterinarian was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and later found murdered near Hyderabad, police had said. The 26-year-old victim’s charred body was found on NH 44 near Shadnagar.
Police had arrested four accused, Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jolu Shiva, and Jollu Naveen. Later, on December 6, 2019, on the same highway they were killed in a police encounter.
Police had claimed that the accused tried to snatch weapons from them when they took the quartet to reconstruct the crime scene on the highway.
Two petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, seeking an independent investigation against the police officers concerned.
The panel was appointed on December 12, 2019 to inquire into the circumstances in which the four accused were killed.
The three-member Commission, headed by former SC judge V S Sirpurkar and including former Judge of Bombay High Court Justice RP Sondur Baldota and former CBI Director D R Kaarthikeyan, submitted its report on January 28.
The Commission of Inquiry collected various documentary records, including investigation records, forensic reports, post-mortem reports, photographs and videos, concerning the scene of incident, and others, according to an official release in January.
The advocates for the state of Telangana, the police officials involved in the incident and other interested parties participated in the hearings.
The Commission held hearings for 47 days between August 21, 2021 and November 15, 2021.
(With inputs from Agencies)