Four men, accused of gang-rape and murder of veterinarian, were killed in an alleged encounter with Hyderabad police on December 6, 2019
The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the Justice V.S. Sirpurkar Commission another six months to complete the probe ordered by it into the deaths of four men, accused of gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian in an alleged encounter with the Hyderabad police on December 6, 2019.
A Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana, however, asked the Commission’s lawyer, advocate K. Parameshwar, the need to take so much time to complete the inquiry.
In July last year, the Commission had taken a similar extension of six months. A second extension was given in January last.
Mr. Parameshwar cited delays caused by the pandemic and a new list of another 130 witnesses.
The court referred to how the Justice B.S. Chauhan panel had completed its probe into the police encounter of gangster Vikas Dubey.
Both Justices Sirpurkar and Chauhan are former Supreme Court judges. Justice Chauhan was also the Chairperson of the Law Commission of India.
“Why is this matter going on and on….” the CJI asked.
In earlier hearings, the Commission members had said they live in different cities, none of which was Hyderabad. Their work was hampered by travel restrictions and the quarantine regime in place.
The Commission had said that despite the pandemic restrictions they received a whopping 1,365 affidavits from the Hyderabad Police officers allegedly involved and the families of the accused. It had also collected the reports of the National Human Rights Commission, the Special Investigation Team, post-mortem reports, etc, in the case.
The four accused – Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen – were taken to the scene of the crime around 60 km from Hyderabad in the early hours of December 6 for a reconstruction of the crime scene.
The Telangana government has stuck to its version that the accused men surprised their police escort there, grabbed their guns and tried to kill the policemen to escape custody. The posse retaliated and the four were killed in the cross-firing.