Senior IPS officer VC Sajjanar on Monday, October 11 appeared before the Supreme Court-appointed three-member inquiry commission over the alleged encounter killing of four persons accused in the gangrape and murder of a woman veterinarian. The four persons were killed in an alleged encounter with police near Hyderabad on December 6, 2019.
Shortly before the commission began questioning witnesses in September, Sajjanar was transferred from the post of Cyberabad Colice commissioner and was appointed the Managing Director of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC). Sajjanar was questioned for the first time by the commission headed by former Supreme Court judge VS Sirpurkar.
Sajjanar, under whose jurisdiction the alleged encounter killings took place, was questioned over the sanctioning of long-range weapons to the policemen escorting the four accused in the case. The former commissioner told the commission that the weapons were issued for escort duties at the request of the Shamshabad DCP, Prakash Reddy. Sajjanar also told the commission that his role was limited to being briefed by the Shamshabad DCP on the status of the crime, reported Times of India.
The commission questioned how Sajjanar knew details of the crime that he shared with the public in a press conference at 7 pm on November 29, before the confessions from the four accused were recorded. Sajjanar responded by saying that all details he had shared about the crime were based on briefings from the Shamshabad DCP. The details of the crime shared with the press were based on CCTV footage, call records of the suspects, underwear and purse of the victim found at the crime scene. "I think by the time the press conference was held, the confession of accused number 1 Mohammad Arif was already recorded," Sajjanar told the commission.
Sajjanar was also quizzed about discrepancies in dates recorded on the arms and ammunition distribution register. The register recorded that two 9 mm pistols were allegedly snatched from the police by the accused on December 3, 2019, whereas the encounter took place on December 6, 2019. The former Commissioner said he will have to check the reason for the error.
The Commission recorded the statements of Sajjanar and he will again appear before the commission on Tuesday.
In the meantime, the first additional junior civil judge-cum-additional judicial magistrate of Shadnagar, P Shyam Prasad who gave the four accused to police custody also appeared before the commission. The four were presented before the magistrate on December 2, 2019, Shyam was quizzed about the judicial procedures he followed.
Shyam told the commission that the four accused were given to police custody without him seeing the accused nor talking to them. He told the commission that no legal aid for the four accused was sought as there was no prison official present at the time the custody petition was being heard. Shaym told the commission that he had made such presumptions and awarded police custody â€ťone or two timesâ€ť, without seeing or talking to the accused.
The commission, which has completed the collection of records, has been examining witnesses and accordingly, some police officials, families of the accused, government officials, among others, have deposed before the panel so far at the commission's office in the Telangana High Court premises. The family of two of the accused, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen have said they were both 17 years of age â€“minors â€“at the time of their death. The Inquiry Panel's proceedings are currently going on in a hybrid form (physical and virtual appearances).
On August 3, 2021, the Supreme Court had given another six months time to the commission to file a final report on the encounter killing of four accused in the case of gang rape and murder of the young veterinarian.The Sirpurkar panel was set up on December 12, 2019, to inquire into the circumstances leading to the encounter and was to submit the report in six months.
Chennakesavulu, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Mohammad Arif were accused of the gangrape and murder of a Hyderabad-based veterinarian on November 28, 2019. According to the Cyberabad Police, the accused kidnapped the woman veterinarian and killed her after sexually assaulting her, and then took the body in a lorry to Chattanpalli near Hyderabad, where it was burnt under a culvert. They were arrested on November 29 and sent to 14-day judicial custody to Cherlapally Central Prison. The four were killed in police firing on December 6, 2019, at Chattanpalli when they were taken to the scene of the crime for reconstruction of the murder. The Cyberabad police had said its personnel resorted to "retaliatory" firing when two of the accused opened fire at police after snatching their weapons, and attacking them with stones and sticks, causing injuries to two policemen.
(With PTI Inputs)