The chief investigating officer of the SIT said in a letter said that there was a 'lack of evidence'

Chittoor encounter Andhra SIT likely to file closure report citing lack of evidenceFile photo: PTI
news Friday, May 20, 2016 - 18:13

More than a year after a special task force of the Andhra Pradesh police shot dead 20 people in an “encounter” in the Seshachalam forests, the Special Investigation Team constituted to investigate the case says it has found no evidence.

On April 7, 2015, the Andhra Pradesh police had gunned down 20 men, who the police claimed were red sanders smugglers who had attacked the police. However, the families of some of those killed in the Seschalam forests in Chittoor district had alleged that the men had been killed in a fake encounter.

In a letter dated May 17, the SIT informed Muniammal, wife of one of the deceased woodcutters Sasi Kumar, that the police were closing the probe as it found no evidence in the case. Muniammal is a co-petitioner in a case filed by the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee with the high court.

The chief investigating officer of the SIT said in the letter that it planned to submit its final report in a Tirupati court soon, informing the court that the chargesheet could not be filed as there was evidence. It also gives a week's time to the addressee to respond to the notice.

Read: Five reasons why the police's version of AP encounter is tough to believe

While the SIT is yet to submit its report as the court is on vacation till June 1, activists have claimed that they would file a protest petition and move the case to the Supreme Court.

A member of the APCLC also alleged that the SIT probe was one-sided and claimed that they would demand for a CBI probe if the SIT filed a closure report.

Also read: Chittoor red sanders encounter witnesses allegedly harassed by AP police, say activists

The case garnered a lot of public attention after the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC), claimed that 12 of those shot were daily wage labourers hailing from Tamil Nadu. The APCLC had said that some of the woodcutters had witnessed police picking up men from buses plying between the Andhra Pradesh Tamil Nadu border. The men were heading towards the Seshachalam forests to cut the red sanders.

 

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