SRINAGAR: A court here is likely to hear on May 4 a plea against the closure report filed by Crime Branch in the case of 17-year-old Tufail Mattoo’s killing allegedly in police action in 2010.
“The case has been transferred to Judge Small Causes and the court has posted it for hearing on May 4, 2016,” Tufail’s father, Mohammad Ashraf Matoo, told Kashmir Reader.
Tufail was returning home from tuition on June 11, 2010, when a teargas shell, fired allegedly by police, hit him on the head near Gani Memorial Stadium at Rajouri Kadal area of old Srinagar. The teenager had died on the spot.
More than 120 protesters and bystanders were killed in police and paramilitary CRPF action in the six-month agitation that followed the death.
In May last year, a Special Investigation Team of Crime Branch filed the closure report in the case before the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Srinagar, repeating what its counterpart in Executive Police had done in March 2013—closed the case as untraced.
“No facts were accosted with where from it could be convincingly gathered with exactitude, how the death of the deceased took place and who was culpably responsible for it,” Aftab Ahmad, senior officer of Crime Branch heading the SIT, had said in the report.
The report, however, does not withstand the High Court’s observations that police investigation was incomplete on many vital aspects and “it appears as if an attempt has been made to save certain police officials”.
To justify its claims, the Crime Branch had submitted that there were three varied accounts of the eyewitnesses, official witnesses of police, and expert opinion in the case.
“If they are taken in unison, it throws up a situation where there can be no conclusive culmination of investigation which would appear commensurate with the merits of the case,” the Crime Branch says.
The investigation was handed over to Crime Branch by High Court on February 14, 2014, while quashing an order by Special Mobile Magistrate (PT&E) Srinagar on March 1, 2013, by virtue of which the court had accepted closure report submitted by the SIT.
“When an offence has been committed, it is the duty of the state to investigate the case fairly and expeditiously and ensure that the culprits are brought to justice. It has been stated more than once that until such time justice is meted out to the aggrieved persons, there will be no peace in the society,” the High Court had observed in the judgment on February 14, 2014.
It had also observed that the SIT’s investigation was incomplete on many vital aspects and “it appears as if an attempt has been made to save certain police officials”.
The family has challenged the CB’s closure report on a number of grounds and is optimistic that the court will reject it.