2019 Hyderabad “encounter” fake, says judicial inquiry commission

Hyderabad (India), May 21 (KMS): Regarding the deaths of the four accused in the rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad in 2019, the Supreme Court of India appointed inquiry commission has refuted the claims of the Hyderabad police and concluded that the four accused were “deliberately fired upon by the police with an intent to cause their death.”

In its report to the Supreme Court, the Justice V S Sirpurkar Commission has recommended action against 10 police officers who accompanied the four accused to the crime scene early on December 6, 2019.

“In our considered opinion, the accused 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 suspects,” read the report.

The killed were Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, and cousins Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen. Chennakeshavulu and Shiva were minors at the time of the incident.

The rape and murder of the woman – called ‘Disha’ by the media to protect her identity – evoked a strong response in Hyderabad at the time and news of the killing of the suspects was hailed by politicians across the spectrum despite the police version appearing highly improbable.

Disha left her home for a clinic in Gachibowli on the evening of November 27, 2019. After parking her two-wheeler near a toll plaza, she had taken a cab to the clinic. At 9.22 pm, she called her younger sister to say the rear tyre of her motorcycle was punctured and that she was offered – and had accepted – help by some truck workers.

However, she sounded worried and had expressed fear at being alone amid men who looked suspicious. Her sister advised her to walk to the toll plaza and wait there, but she hesitated to go there. After about six minutes, the call was cut. Disha’s phone was then switched off.

The young woman’s burnt body was subsequently recovered on November 28 morning from an underpass on National Highway 44 near Chatanpally village under Shadnagar police station.

A day later, Commissioner of Cyberabad police announced that four persons – Mohammed Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakesavulu – had been arrested in connection with the rape and murder of the woman.

On December 6, the police disclosed that it had killed all four suspects after they allegedly attacked the police party which had taken them to Chatanpally to aide with investigation. The police claimed that the suspects had snatched their firearms and opened fire on the accompanying officers, who then killed them in retaliatory fire.

Several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court and the high court of Telangana against the deaths. Subsequently on December 12, the apex court constituted a commission and made clear that no other court or authority shall inquire into the matter pending before this panel.

Upon going through the material on record, the affidavits that had been filed, and various documents and statements of various officers and witnesses, the Commission of Inquiry found many loopholes in the police version of events that led to the killing of the four suspects.