High Court asks DGP to appoint new IO
GANDERBAL CUSTODIAL KILLING
D A RASHID
Srinagar, Feb 8: Disapproving conflicting status reports and miffed at slow pace of probe into the custodial killing of a Ganderbal man, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the Director General of Police (DGP) to appoint a new Investigating officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police to probe the case.
A bench presided over by Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar while assessing the investigation into the killing of Muhammad Sultan Bhat of Ganderbal by the Crime Branch Investigating officer as not result oriented, directed the Director General of Police to appoint new IO, saying he can seek assistance of other officers to take the investigation to its logical conclusion.
Directing the DGP to issue necessary orders on this behalf within two weeks, the court said: “The appointed Investigating Officer shall file the status report about the Investigation of the case within four weeks from the date he assumes the charge of investigation of the case.”
The court however made it clear that the present Investigating Officer shall in no way be associated with the Investigation of the case.
Observing that the investigation carried out in the case is not satisfactory hitherto, the court held that the investigating Officer has filed series of status reports in respect of investigation which hardly reconciled with each other.
The court on November 15, 2012, when the case was considered, the Investigating Officer, Masood Ahmad Beigh Deputy Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, who was present before the Court made submissions which were recorded in the court order in presence of the counsel for parties.
The IO was present in person in the Court and he submitted that he was in receipt of communications from the Army Authorities saying he was informed by the Army authorities that Major Adjutant M R Nunia and Major Sunny Kurian had shot dead the deceased. It said the Investigating Officer also submitted that It would take him two months time to complete the investigation.
Referring to its earlier directions, the court held that prayer of the Investigation Officer was allowed and two months time was granted to him for completing the investigation and for filing appropriate report before the competent court.
The court observed that the statement given by the investigating officer earlier was that the accused Army officers were perpetrators of crime and subsequently he filed status report in which he watered down his earlier stand taken before the Court.
“By naming the Army officers on November 15, 2012 as alleged perpetrators of crime without tendering explanation about the same and without their being supporting material, it appears that he has acted irresponsibly” the court said adding in his earlier statements he had named other Army officers as alleged perpetrators of the crime.
Observing tardy pace into the probe, the court said the investigation cannot be allowed to lapse into dormancy because of the lax attitude of the Investigating Officer.
“The state and its authorities are duty bound to ensure that justice is meted out to the petitioner and Investigation of the case has to be brought to its logical conclusion with reasonable dispatch” the court held.
Picking up holes into the probe of the case, the court said the IO could not record statements of witnesses despite the fact that request for the same was made to him. “Today, number of persons, namely, Abdul Rehman Mir, Muhammad Sultan Lone, Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, Ghulam Muhammad Bhat and Ghulam Mohiuddin Bhat appeared before the Court and submitted that their statements have not been recorded by the Investigating Officer, though request for same was made” the court said.
Bhat was picked up during the intervening night of September 19- 20, 1999, by Army’s unit of 5 RR stationed at Ganderbal from his residence with Ghulam Muhammad Sheikh alias Mama Ikhwani guiding them to Bhat’s house.
Begum Khatija of Batvina Ganderbal had filed a petition in High Court seeking reinvestigation into the case of kidnapping and custodial killing of her son Sultan Bhat.
The petitioner is seeking implementation of the recommendations of SHRC directing the government to reopen the FIR No. 158 of 1999 registered in Police Station Ganderbal.
After the police investigation, the family had approached the DGP with the request of carrying out fresh investigation into the case. The DGP referred the case to Crime Branch.
The petitioner was represented by Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom while state was represented by Senior Additional Advocate General A M Magray and Shujaul Haque Tantray.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 9 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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