New Delhi: In a new development, the Supreme Court of India, has ordered a judicial inquiry into the encounter killing of the four accused in the Disha gang rape and murder case on December 12. The inquiry panel is to be headed by the former Supreme Court judge VS Sirpurkar.
The three-member committee has been directed to complete the inquiry within six months by the top court, on Thursday. The members heading the committee include former SC Judge VS Sirpurkar, retired Bombay High Court judge Rekha Baldota, and former CBI Director Kartikeyan.
The highest judicial authority has also stalled other probes in the encounter case. Earlier, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had taken suo motu cognizance of the case and sent their team in order to assess the situation following the alleged encounter. Also, on December 9, the Telangana High Court had directed the State Government to produce documentary evidence of having followed the Supreme Court guidelines in such encounter cases. The Court has also further directed the State Government to preserve the dead bodies of the four deceased / accused till December 13.
With the new Supreme court orders, no other court or authority shall inquire into this matter until further orders and all proceedings before other courts are effectively stayed.
The Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde, who headed the bench which called for a judicial inquiry commented that there should an independent inquiry into the case. Speaking about the media influence on the trial and the probe, the chief justice said "We don't wish to gag media, but there needs to be some balance in certain cases."
Calling the alleged encounter as an extra-judicial killing, several prominent activists and journalists had written a letter to Telangana High Court on these encounter/custodial killings and the Court had converted this letter into a PIL.
According to the police's version of the encounter, the four accused- namely Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen, had tried to escape during the recreation of the crime scene on December 6. The police claims that this led to the alleged encounter. The four men were accused of the gangrape and murder of the 26-year-old veterinarian from Hyderabad, on November 27.