The Telangana High Court has directed the state government to take steps to preserve the bodies of the four men killed in a police encounter last week. That means the bodies will continue to remain in the morgue of the Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad for an indefinite period till further orders from the Supreme Court. The four men – Mohammad Arif, Jollu Naveen, Jollu Shiva and Chintakunta Chenna Kesavulu – were accused in a veterinary doctor’s rape and murder case following which the police shot them dead at an encounter in Chatanpalli village of Telangana’s Shadnagar town.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by a group of rights’ activists over the killings. In a massive development, the Supreme Court bench led by CJI SA Bobde on Thursday ordered a three-member panel headed by retired SC judge VS Sipurkar to probe into the encounter by the Cyberabad police of the accused in the Disha rape case. The other members of the panel include a former Bombay HC judge and a former CBI director. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has given the panel a deadline of 6 months to file a report of their findings.
The apex court has directed that till the committee completes its probe, all other investigations related to this case including the one by a special investigation team (SIT) and the case in the high court, would come to a standstill. Noting this, the two-bench of the Telangana High Court comprising chief justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy made it clear that it would no longer enquire into the matter. The bench, however, sought a direction from the SC as to what should be done with the bodies of the four suspects.
The bench told the petitioners that as per the information from the top court, the probe committee was expected to land in Hyderabad in a couple of days to commence its investigation. “Since there is a possibility of the committee calling for a re-postmortem of the four bodies, they should be preserved in the mortuary until further orders from the SC,” the bench said.
(With agency inputs)