Hyderabad encounter: SC gives 6 months more to inquiry commission to file its report

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New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Friday gave another six months to three-member inquiry commission, headed by former apex court judge V S Sirpurkar, to file final report on the circumstances leading to the encounter killing of the four accused in the gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad.

The other members of the commission include former Bombay High Court judge Rekha Sondur Baldota and ex-CBI director D R Karthikeyan.

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said, “We will extend it by six months”.

The bench perused an application filed by the commission seeking some more time for filing the report in the case and passed the order.

This is the second time the top court has granted six months’ time to the commission to file its final report, since it was setup on December 12, 2019.

The top court had on July 24, 2020 granted the Commission 6-month extension to submit final report.

On December 12, 2019, the top court had appointed a three-member inquiry commission headed by former apex court judge V S Sirpurkar to inquire into the circumstances leading to the encounter.

It had then stayed proceedings pending in the Telangana High Court and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the case and sought an SIT report, saying no other authority shall inquire into the matter pending before the commission of inquiry till further orders.

It had ordered that security to the three-member commission shall be provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the six-month deadline for submission of the report by the commission shall start from the first day of hearing and it shall have all the power under the Commission of Inquiry Act for conducting inquiry into the December 6, 2019, encounter deaths.

The top court had noted that 'conflicting versions about the incident demand an inquiry to uncover the true facts'.

It had directed that the panel would sit at Hyderabad and all the expenses including for the secretarial staff would be borne by the Telangana government. Further, the state would render all assistance required by the commission.

Two petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, one by lawyers G S Mani and Pradeep Kumar Yadav, and the other by advocate M L Sharma, seeking independent investigation against the police officers concerned.

The PIL, filed by Mani and Yadav, claimed that the alleged encounter was 'fake' and an FIR should be lodged against the police officers involved in the incident.

The Telangana Police had said that the accused were killed in an exchange of fire. The incident took place around 6.30 am when the accused were taken to the site of offence for the reconstruction of the scene of crime as part of the investigation.

The four accused were shot dead on NH-44 near Hyderabad -- the same highway where the charred body of 27-year-old veterinarian was found.

The police had claimed that on November 27, 2019, the woman veterinarian was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and later found murdered.

It had said that the accused had subsequently burned the body of the woman. PTI ABA MNL SA