SC Probe Panel Examines Witnesses in ‘Encounter’ Killing of 4 in Hyderabad Rape-Murder Case

The three-member Inquiry Commission, constituted by the Supreme Court to inquire into the incidents leading to the death of four persons accused of rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in an alleged encounter with police near here on December 6, 2019, has been examining witnesses. The Commission, headed by former apex court judge V S Sirpurkar, has completed the collection of records and is moving onto evidence recording phase, an official release had earlier said.

The Investigation Officer of the encounter case besides the father of the prime accused are among those who have deposed before the Inquiry Commission.”A total of 1,333 affidavits from the general public, 103 affidavits from the police officials, government officials, witnesses, Doctors were received. Voluminous record of the investigation by the SIT, CDRs, medical reports, Forensic and ballistic Reports and other records were collected,” it said.

The Commission held 16 virtual hearings and passed orders in 24 applications filed by the Police officials involved in the incident. Hearings were also held on questions of procedure.The Commission, having considered the records collected, held that the oral evidence of witnesses has to be recorded. “Considering the gravity of the issue under inquiry and the sensitive nature of the evidence, the Commission is of the opinion that witnesses have to be examined in its physical presence. However COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to conduct physical hearings at Hyderabad,” it said.

The Commission, having considered all these circumstances and reviewing the records, has resolved to commence hearings in a hybrid form wherein, some witnesses will be examined in the physical presence of the Commission and some witnesses will be examined in the virtual presence of the Commission. On August 3, 2021, the Supreme Court gave another six months to the three-member inquiry commission, headed by former apex court judge V S Sirpurkar, to file final report on the encounter killing of four accused in the case of gang-rape and murder of a 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. According to the Cyberabad Police here on the night of November 27, 2019 the accused kidnapped the woman veterinarian and killed her after sexually assaulting her, and then shifted the body in a lorry to Chattanpalli near Hyderabad where it was burnt under a culvert.

The four were arrested on November 29. They were killed in police firing on December 6, 2019 at Chattanpalli when they were taken to the scene of crime near the culvert, under which the charred remains of the 25-year-old veterinarian were found on November 28, to recover her phone, wrist-watch and others pertaining to the case. The Cyberabad police had said its personnel resorted to “retaliatory” firing after two of the accused opened fire at police after snatching their weapons besides attacking the latter with stones and sticks, resulting in injuries to two policemen.

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