By Aqib Ahmad
Srinagar: Hans Raj Parihar, a police officer accused of picking up a number of civilians, murdering them in staged gunfights and passing them off as militants for money and awards, has sought transfer of the three cases registered against him in Srinagar and Bandipora to Jammu.
Parihar has been released on bail by the high court at Jammu in November last year after the state government said it has “no objections” if the former SSP assures that he will not leave the state without prior permission of the court. Parihar had filed the petition before the high court’s Jammu wing and was granted bail on November 15 in three FIRs—06/2007 in Batamaloo-, 04/2007 in Zadibal- and 52/2006 in Sumbal police stations.
The cases among others pertain to the killing of a carpenter, Abdul Rehman Padroo of Larnoo Kokernag, and Showkat Ahmad Kataria, who was an imam (cleric) in a masjid at Zadibal here.
Parihar had sought the bail so that he could attend his daughter’s wedding ceremonies commencing 27 November and concluding on 1 December 2016.
State’s senior Additional Advocate General SS Nanda submitted before court that “he has no objections in granting a short bail to (Hans Raj Parihar) with a condition that during this period he shall not leave the state without the court’s prior permission and shall surrender immediately after the expiry of the bail period.”
“Having regard that (Hans Raj Parihar) in his capacity as father of the bride, besides making arrangements for the marriage has to perform some religious duties, (he) is granted temporary bail for a period of twenty days from judicial custody on furnishing personal bond of Rs 100,000 in each case to the satisfaction of the SP jail where he is lodged with two sureties of like amount to the satisfaction of registrar judicial,” the court had ordered.
On 8 December last year, the high court extended Parihar’s bail till December 13 after he submitted that he was suffering from multiple ailments and that his health was deteriorating day by day.
His bail was further extended on December 13 till December 19 as medical superintendent of GMC Jammu failed to submit the report regarding ‘Echo cardiology test’.
The medical superintendent was directed to conduct the test and submit the report before December 13.
In the meanwhile, the former SSP moved an application before the high court, seeking transfer of all the three cases from the valley to be tried by any competent criminal court in Jammu or elsewhere.
On December 19, the high court adjourned the case and ordered its listing in February 2017 with a further direction that the ‘interim’ directions will continue.
Apart from Parihar, the SIT has named DySP Bahadur Ram, ASI Farooq Gudoo, driver Farooq Ahmad Padder, Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Constable Bansi Lal as accused in the fake encounter killings.
Besides cops and the civilian, the police had also chargesheeted Col. Vikram Singh, Maj. Rishi Khanna, V.K. Sharma, Puran Singh and Satpal Singh of 13 Rashtriya Rifles of army. If proven guilty, accused can face a death or life sentences.
The SIT had exhumed Padroo’s body in Sumbal area of Bandipora district. He had gone missing from Batmaloo bus stand on 8 December 2006, and he was allegedly taken to Waskoora Ganderbal where he was killed in the fake encounter by the accused, working with Special Operation Group (SOG) posted in Ganderbal and Sumbal camps.
The DNA taken from the body of Padroo matched with that of his relatives in Larnoo Kokernag, confirming that the killed ‘foreign militant’ was not Pakistani but the abducted carpenter.
Kataria, a resident of Banihal in Jammu region, was picked up by the SOG men in league with army and he was subsequently killed in a fake gunfight in October 2006.
Kataria, who led prayers at Zadibal Srinagar, was also passed off as a ‘foreign militant’. Kataria’s identity was established after DNA tests.
As per the SIT, Mohammad Ashraf, a resident of Choontwali-War Ganderbal, who intended to lead the prayers at Zadibal, had hatched a conspiracy with Constable Tariq Ahmad Lone of Kupwara to eliminate Kataria.
Lone informed Gudoo, who was in charge SOG camp Ganderbal, about the plan and finally the preparations were finalized with SSP Parihar and DSP Bahadur Ram, the SIT said.
The cops contacted army’s Vikram Singh and others and plan was executed as SOG and the military kidnapped Kataria from the mosque on the fateful day and later killed him in fake encounter at Ajas Bandipora.
Kataria was passed off Pakistan militant ‘Abu Zahid’.
The plan, according to SIT, was revealed before it by ASI Farooq Ahmad Gudoo during the investigation of the fake encounter killing of another victim Abdul Rehman Padroo.