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The Supreme Court has been moved against the recent Telangana Police Encounter, which saw the four accused of raping and murdering ‘Disha’ being killed in an encounter by the state police.
Two PILs have been moved in this regard, one by advocates GS Mani and Pradeep Kumar Yadav and another by advocate ML Sharma. Both PILs have registered objection to the extra-judicial killing of the four accused in the Telangana rape and murder case in the when the guilt of the accused was yet to be proved.
“It is yet to be established that arrested four persons are accused of offence of rape and murder … it is a clear case of planned killing of four innocent persons who were arrested by the police without any evidence in hand. Till date police have no legal and medical evidence in hand that there was raped, gang raped with the victim girl. Found charred body could not disclose offence of rape. But due to media hype, leaders statements four persons have been arrested and killed declaring them accused of gang rape and murder of the girl (sic)” states the plea filed by Sharma.
The petition filed by Mani and Kumar emphasises that while no one will support persons involved in the gang rape and murder of innocent women, it is unfortunate that the police has taken the law into their own hands and carried out the encounter, “without conducting a proper investigation, collecting evidences, framing charges and without bringing them before the court for punishment.” The petitioners have added,
“Such fake encounter killing was conducted only to divert the public reaction over sensational gang rape and murder cases against innocent young girls and may be to protect the real culprits … No one including the investigating agency like police has right to punish any accused without due process of law. The Court alone after applying all the procedure and law and affording an opportunity all the right of free and fair trial and hearing can impose punishment of imprisonment or death sentence. Here the respondent police have become hero in the public domain as they have killed the rapists.”
In this backdrop, the petitioners have also raised apprehension that there is a chance that evidence against the police in the encounter killing of the four accused may be tampered with. Therefore, it has been urged that the Supreme Court restrain the police officers involved in the encounter from performing their duties until and independent investigation into the matter is completed. Further, it is requested that the PIL may be heard on an urgent basis to guard against the possibility that material evidence in the case may be tampered with or destroyed.
On allied concerns, Sharma’s PIL calls for the constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising of retired Supreme Court judges to conduce a probe with the aid of the CBI under Court supervision, into actions of the police officials involved as well as “leaders and media channels.”
Additionally, Sharma has sought for action to be directed against Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachan and Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, Swati Maliwal “for provocation [and] pressuring police for extra judicial killing of arrested persons in police custody without concluding of trial.“
Moreover, Sharma has also sought for the grant of Rs 20 lakhs to the family members of the deceased persons.
The Telangana Encounter case has drawn criticism from various quarters, with the National Human Rights Commission taking cognisance of the same. Yesterday evening, the Telangana High Court also intervened to direct that the video of the post mortem of the accused, being conducted at the Government District Hospital, be sent to the Principal District Judge at Mahboobnagar.
As per reports, the four accused persons were taken to the scene of the crime around 60 Km from Hyderabad “for a re-construction as part of the investigation“. According to the police personnel, one of them signaled to the others, possibly to escape and they further tried to snatch weapons from the police. At this point, the police fired at the accused persons, leading to their death.
[Read the petition filed by advocates GS Mani and Pradeep Kumar Yadav]
[Read the petition filed by advocate ML Sharma]