Disha encounter case: Justice Sirpurkar Commission says 3 slain accused were minors

"The police were well aware of the school records of Jollu Shiva and Chennakeshavulu and yet have not recorded the age of the deceased persons according to the admission registers at any given point of time."

By Sumit Jha  Published on  20 May 2022 10:43 AM GMT
Disha encounter case: Justice Sirpurkar Commission says 3 slain accused were minors

Hyderabad: Justice V S Sirpurkar Commission probing the 2019 Disha encounter case said three of the four slain were minors.

"We think that at the relevant time, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu were minors," said the commission.

On November 29, 2019, police arrested Mohammed Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen, and Chintakunta Chennakesavulu.

"As per the available records, it can be conclusively stated that Mohammed Arif was aged 26, and therefore, the question of him being a minor at the relevant point does not arise," said the commission.

The commission observed that the Aadhaar cards of Shiva, Naveen, and Chennakeshavulu, record only their year of birth as 2001 and no exact date of birth has been mentioned in these documents.

"However, various judicial decisions have held that Aadhaar card cannot be proof of date of birth. On the other hand, section 94(2)(i) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, provides that the date of birth certificate obtained from the school as recorded in their admission registers shall be the primary document evidencing the age of an alleged juvenile," said the commission.

Head Masters of their school submitted that in the admission registers of Jollu Shiva and Chennakeshavulu the date of birth is 15.08.2002 and 10.04.2004 respectively. Jollu Naveen's date of birth, according to the admission register, is 04.04.2004.

"In our considered view, there is no reason to disbelieve the evidence of the Head Masters, who not only identified the relevant entries about the deceased but also have deposed that they knew the family of the deceased persons," said the commission.

During the hearing, V. Narasimhulu, the Head Master who produced the school records of Jollu Shiva specifically stated that after three or four days of the Disha incident, Mandal Educational Officer telephoned him at night and told him that some policemen might come, so he has to show the school registers. He said he then went to the school by 10.30 PM and thereafter the police arrived and checked the records.

He also stated that they took photographs of the admission registers with mobile phones. He said cops were from Shamshabad Police Station and one of them was of the rank of a Sub-Inspector.

"This suggests that the police were well aware of the school records of Jollu Shiva and Chennakeshavulu and yet have not recorded the age of the deceased persons according to the admission registers at any given point of time. Therefore, we think that at the relevant time, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu were minors," said the commission.

In the early hours of December 6, 2019, Mohammed Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen, and Chintakunta Chennakesavulu died in police custody.

Background of the case

On the evening of November 27, 2019, Disha (name changed) left her home for a clinic in Gachibowli. She parked her Scooty, a two-wheeler near the toll plaza, and took a cab to the clinic. At 9.22 pm. she called her younger sister saying that the rear tyre of her Scooty had punctured and she accepted help from some truck workers. But then she was worried and expressed fear of being alone amid men who looked suspicious. The sister advised her to walk to the toll plaza and wait there. However, she hesitated to go there. After about six minutes, the call disconnected and Disha's phone remained switched off thereafter.

Around 10.30 pm. Disha's sister and parents approached RGIA Police Station. Police initially did not register the complaint claiming that they did not have jurisdiction and directed them to approach Shamshabad Rural Police Station. The relatives then searched the nearby areas and went to Shamshabad Rural Police Station. On November 28, 2019, the missing complaint was registered as Crime Number 480.

On 28th November 2019 morning, they received information from Samala Sathyam that he had seen a woman's dead body burning in the underpass on NH44 near Chatanpally Village investigation was taken up by Shadnagar Police. In the course of the investigation, the dead body was identified as that of Disha by her parents and Sister. Based thereon at around 9.00 am FIR in Crime No. 784 of 2019 was registered on the file of Shadnagar Police Station under Section 302 and 201 IPC.

On November 29, V C Sajjanar, Commissioner of Police, Cyberabad addressed a press conference and announced that four persons namely Mohammed Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen, and Chintakunta Chennakesavulu (hereinafter 'deceased suspects') were arrested in connection with the rape and murder of Disha. He also narrated the details of the incident which were said to have been disclosed by four persons in their confessional statements recorded by the police.

The next day, the four accused persons were produced for remand before Executive Magistrate, Farooq Nagar. They were remanded to Judicial Custody for 13 days. The four deceased suspects were then taken to Cherlapally Central Prison on the evening of 31st November 2019.

On 06th December 2019, it was widely reported in the media that the deceased suspects were killed when they attacked the police party which had taken them to Chatanpally to effect recovery of articles of Disha.

It was reported that the deceased had reportedly snatched firearms from the police and opened fire upon the police party and were subsequently killed in the exchange of fire. A few hours later, the then Commissioner of Police, Cyberabad, V C Sajjanar addressed the press conference and gave more details of the incident to the press.

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