Hyderabad encounter: Don’t doubt police version from day one

Vikash Aiyappa

Hyderabad, Dec 07: Several retired and serving police officers cautioned against doubting the police in the encounter killing of four accused in the gang rape and murder of a 25-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad, but demanded an independent probe into the incident.

Former Tihar Jail DG Vimla Mehra demanded that an inquiry be conducted to ascertain the reasons that led to the encounter.

Alok Kumar, former joint commissioner of Delhi Police (Crime Branch), said whenever a judicial scrutiny happens, things will be cleared.

"This is a situation that has happened. Two of the policemen also got injured and one of them has serious head injuries. The firing was in self-defence. We should accept things. Subsequently, there will be judicial vetting," he told PTI over the phone.

Post-mortem of 4 accused in Hyderabad rape-murder case videographed

According to guidelines, the case has to be investigated by an agency other than the one that carried out the encounter, he said.

"If there is any lacuna, it will come out. Why should we start doubting the police version right from day one?" he stressed.

Human rights activists have questioned the encounter, saying the accused could have been shot in the leg but Kumar countered their argument by saying that the situation was different.

"Going by the police version, the accused had snatched the weapon, and had fired at police. If someone is firing with an intention to kill you, the situation is different," he stressed.

Former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said encounters took place during his tenure as well and the one at Ansal Plaza, in which two suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were gunned down inside the crowded mall, raised questions.

Accused showed no remorse, escape bid pre-planned, sources on Hyderabad encounter

"After every encounter, there are always questions and this (Hyderabad) was not an encounter with a terrorist or gangster. It was in a case which has been under public scrutiny. To investigate what actually happened and transpired, there is a judicial inquiry that has to be ordered. We have to wait for its findings to know whether the encounter was justified or not," he said.

Ashok Chand, a former Delhi Police officer who solved the Parliament attack case in just 72 hours, said raising questions just for the sake of it is not right.

"If the police version is correct and there has been an exchange of fire in which the accused persons have been killed, it is an act of self-defence. You disprove the police version and then raise questions. Raising questions just for the sake of raising questions is not right," he said.

Former Maharashtra Director General of Police D Sivanandhan said this kind of "shortcut" will not help in the prevention of crime in the long run.

The 1976-batch IPS officer, whose tenure in Mumbai in the 1990s saw several encounters of gangsters, said, "After the encounter, the police may get praise for a short period, but it is not good in the long run."

Sivanandhan, who headed the Mumbai Police after the 26/11 terror attack, also said it was better to take measures to prevent crime against women with the help of technology.
"There should be proper patrolling and adequate police presence all over the city," he said.

Another former top official of Mumbai Police said, requesting anonymity, "Whatever happened should not have happened, especially when the accused were in police custody."

Former Mumbai Police commissioner Satyapal Singh, who is now the BJP MP from Baghpat, hailed the encounter.

Timely and correct, Bengaluru top cop on Hyderabad encounter

"I would like to congratulate Hyderabad Police for tackling the situation with great valour. It would have been a big stain on the uniform if the culprits would have managed to escape from custody. Jai Hind," he said in a tweet.

Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Prafulla Bhosale, one of the Mumbai Police officers who came to be known as "encounter specialists", justified the killings, saying it was the "need of the situation".

"It is justified as the accused tried to snatch the weapons of policemen during the crime scene reconstruction," he said.

"Had the accused managed to flee, it would have been disgusting for the police and they would have been blamed for negligence," he said.

Defending the killing, Bengaluru top cop Bhaskar Rao termed it as "correct and timely action" given the situation.

"The action of Hyderabad/Cyberabad police was correct and timely, there can be no second opinion. If they (accused) had escaped from the custody, they (police) would have been under tremendous pressure. The incident has happened during the inquiry and it needs to be defended. Cyberabad police has taken required action," Rao added.

Sanjeev Yadav, DCP, Special Cell, Delhi Police, who has been part of several encounters, including the one at Batla House, congratulated his counterparts on Twitter.

"Congratulations to Hyderabad police.. #hyderabadpolice #hyderabadencounter", he wrote on the site.

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