On the direction of Telangana High Court, a fresh autopsy was conducted on Friday on the body of a leader of CPI (ML) New Democracy who was killed in an alleged encounter by the police on July 31.
A three-member committee of expert doctors conducted the fresh autopsy on Punnam Lingaiah alias Linganna at government-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad. Police made tight security arrangements at the hospital to prevent any untoward incident.
Tension prevailed in the premises as some sympathizers of CPI (ML) New Democracy gathered at the spot. Police arrested the protesters including activists Vimalakka and Sandhya. Police allowed only family members of Linganna near the mortuary. After the autopsy, the body was handed over to the family.
The High Court on Thursday had ordered fresh autopsy on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Gaddam Laxman, President of State Civil Liberties Committee, who alleged that it was a stage-managed gun battle as the body of Linganna bore injury marks.
The petitioner sought direction to the state government to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the 'fake encounter'. He also sought direction to police to register a murder case against police personnel responsible for the killing.
While petitioner's counsel, V. Raghunath, submitted that Linganna was a tribal leader fighting for the rights of tribals, the government claimed that he was a member of a banned outfit and was acting against the state's interests.
The court directed Gandhi Hospital superintendent to constitute a three-member committee of expert doctors to conduct fresh autopsy and submit the report to the court by August 5.
Following the court order, Linganna's body was shifted from Kothagudem town to Hyderabad for fresh autopsy. The first autopsy was conducted at a hospital in Kothagudem.
Linganna was gunned down by police on July 31 in Gundala forests in Telangana's Bhadradri-Kothagudem district. Police claimed that he was killed in an exchange of fire but CPI (ML) New Democracy alleged that he was caught and killed in cold blood by the police.