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Telangana encounter killing in Disha rape-murder case fake, says Supreme Court-appointed commission

Published : May 21, 2022 17:08 IST T+T-
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A team of forensic experts collecting clue material from the site where the accused in the Disha case were killed, at Chatanpally in Rangareddy district, on December 6, 2019.

In a damning indictment of the Telangana police and the K. Chandrasekhar Rao government in the State, a Supreme Court-appointed Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice V.S. Sirpurkar has found that the encounter killing of four persons arrested and accused in the Disha gang-rape and murder case was fake.

The commission’s findings, released by a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Hima Kohli on May 20, found that the four accused were “deliberately fired upon”, with the intention being to kill them during the police encounter.

The Commission, in its 387-page report, found that three of the four killed were minors. All the accused were gunned down under a bridge on the Bangalore-Hyderabad national highway, on the outskirts of Chatanpally village in Ranga Reddy district. The Commission recommended that the 10 police personnel involved in the encounter be prosecuted for the offence. It also found the Telangana police guilty of destroying and/or withholding evidence.

The Supreme Court bench refused to accede to the plea of the Telangana government’s counsel, Shyam Divan, and transferred the entire pending proceedings before it to the Telangana High Court for appropriate action. It also directed the Commission’s counsel, K. Parameswaran, to give copies of the inquiry report to all the parties involved.

On November 27, 2019, Disha (name changed to protect the victim’s identity), a veterinary assistant surgeon at the State-run hospital at Kollur village and resident of Shamshabad, was abducted, gang-raped and smothered to death. The perpetrators of the crime then took her body to a spot 30 kilometres away and burnt it.

The resultant public outcry forced the Telangana government to fast-track the investigations and the police arrested four men—Mohammad Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakesavulu—for their alleged involvement in the gruesome crime.

According to the Telangana police, two of the four accused had snatched the guns of the police personnel and attacked them when they had been taken to the location for a reconstruction of the crime scene. The police claimed that in the ensuing shootout, all four suspects were shot dead.

After human rights activists accused the Telangana government of extrajudicial killings, the Supreme Court set up the Sirpurkar Commission, which also had as members Rekha Baldota, former Bombay High Court judge, and D.R. Karthikeyan, former CBI Director.

The Commission said that no bullets or spent cartridges from the encounter site were found, nor had any of the police personnel suffered any bullet injuries. It added that incomplete video footage of the encounter incident was produced before it.

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