The commission also found that the police were aware that at least two of the accused were minors, and yet they opened fire with an intention to kill them.

Site of the Hyderabad encounter
news Police Excess Friday, May 20, 2022 - 15:39

The Justice Sirpurkar panel probing the Hyderabad encounter case has said that the shooting of the four people accused in the Hyderabad rape and murder case was a ‘fake encounter’ and an extra-judicial killing, adding that the ten police officers who were at the spot should be tried for murder. The panel report was submitted before the Supreme Court on Friday, May 20, and the Supreme Court had said that the report is made available to both parties, despite the opposition of the Telangana government counsel in court. 

The three-member panel to probe the extra-judicial killings was set up on December 12, 2019, after four accused in the brutal Hyderabad rape case were shot dead in an agricultural field located close to the scene of the crime. The four accused were identified as Mohammed Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen, and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu. The police had then said that the four accused were trying to flee, and had to be gunned down. However, their version was contested in court, and the Supreme Court set up a panel headed by retired judge Justice VS Sirpurkar, and with Justices Rekha P Sondur Baldota, and Dr D R Kaarthikeyan as members. Now, the commission has found that the Hyderabad police’s version of the sequence of events was concocted and wrought with contradictions and loopholes. 

The commission has recommended that the ten police officers who were involved in the killings should be booked and tried for murder, as they had opened fire on them with an intention to kill them. “The different acts committed by each of them were done in furtherance of common intention to kill the deceased suspects,” the commission has held, adding that they should also be booked for criminal conspiracy, causing disappearance of evidence, and for giving false information to shield the offender. The ten police officials who face action are V Surender, K Narasimha Reddy, Shaik Lal Madhar, Mohammed Sirajuddin, Kocherla Ravi, K Venkateshwarulu, S Arvind Goud, D Janakiram, R Balu Rathod and D Srikanth. 

The commission has held that the deceased accused in the case “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 police had alleged that the accused fired upon them while trying to flee from police custody, and so they had to open fire in self-defence. The commission has rejected this version, calling it concocted and unbelievable. 

“It cannot be said that the police party fired in self-defence or in a bid to re-arrest the deceased suspects. The record shows that the entire version of the police party beginning from the safe house to the incident at Chatanpally is concocted. It was impossible for the deceased suspects to have snatched the weapons of the police and they could not have operated the firearms. Therefore, the entire version is unbelievable,” the commission said in the report. 

Also read: Hyderabad rape encounter report: Commission suggests cops hid CCTV camera evidence

The commission said it has considered the material on record, and concluded that the deceased accused did not commit any offence like snatching the weapons, or attempting to escape from custody, or assaulting and firing at the police party. 

The commission has also found that three of the four accused were minors at the time of the incident. The commission went through documents and evidence to establish their ages, and has said that Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu were minors when they were gunned down by the police, while the fourth accused Mohammed Arif was 26 years old. Additionally, the commission has also found that the police were very well aware of the ages of two of the accused, and yet the police opened fire at them. 

Meanwhile, the counsel for the investigating officer V Surender has said that the report submitted before the Supreme Court will now be placed before the Telangana High Court and that they will contest the report in the high Court. Advocate Keerthi Kiran Kota told TNM that the report is not tested by anyone and that the Supreme Court has not looked into the report in itself. 

“The report has a lot of inconsistencies, which we will point out before the Telangana High Court. As a fact finding body, the commission should have said what really happened that day. What commission has said that there are inconsistencies in the police version, but than the version of the police, no other version has come out. There is only one version, so the police version stands,” he said.

The four accused were shot dead in the early hours of December 6, 2019. They had been arrested a week before in connection with the rape of a Hyderabad veterinarian. On November 27, a 26-year-old veterinarian from Hyderabad was brutally gang-raped and killed allegedly by the four-member gang, who were natives of Narayanpet district, at Thondupally toll gate on Outer Ring Road, Shamshabad. 

The police had said that the four people, who were driving a lorry, had trapped her by deflating one of the tyres of her two-wheeler which she had parked near the toll gate. Around 9 pm, when she reached the spot to take her vehicle, she noticed the flat tyre. The gang approached her saying they would help her fix the tyre. They forcibly took her to nearby bushes, assaulted her and killed her.

Her burnt body was discovered near the outskirts of Hyderabad, near Shadnagar, and shortly after, these four accused were arrested by the police. The police had said that on December 6, 2019, the accused were taken to the scene of the crime when they snatched their weapons and fired upon them while trying to flee, and so the police had to shoot at them in self-defence. The four accused were killed on the spot. 

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