2006 custodial killing: HC orders relook at accused cops’ bail

2006 custodial killing: HC orders relook at accused cops’ bail

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday ordered Principal Sessions Judge Bandipora to relook at a petition regarding the custodial murder of a civilian in 2006, after rejecting the bail of the accused—two police officers, a policeman and an SPO.
The two officers, sub-inspectors Bashir Ahmad Khan and Abdul Aziz Thakur, had filed the revision petition through their counsel, senior advocate and former president of Kashmir High Court Bar Association ZA Qureshi.
“The revision petitions as also the bail application are disposed of by directing the trial court to take a re-look at the matter on the touchstone of the law applicable and the circumstantial change, if any, without getting influenced by any of the observations made in this order,” said a single bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magray, after hearing advocate Qureshi as well advocate MA Rathore for government and advocate Mohammad Ashraf Wani for the victim family.
The court directed the trial court to hear the bail applications on March 4 and “decide (it) expeditiously.
The Case
The victim, Zahoor Ahmad Sofi of Brar Bandipora, was taken into custody by the Special Operation Group of the Police of Kaloosa Bandipora and kept in “wrongful confinement” for days before killing him by “extreme torture” on the intervening night of 3 and 4 September 2006. Autopsy on Sofi’s body had revealed death due to the rupture of a kidney with tear measuring 0.124cm.
Following the custodial killing, a case FIR no. 125/2007 had been registered at Police Station Bandipora under sections 302 (murder), 343 (wrongful confinement for three or more days), 467(forgery of valuable security), 471 (forgery), 201(causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 34 (act by several persons to commit crime) and 109 (abetment) of the RPC.
The police investigation culminated into filing of chargesheet under section 302 RPC before Chief Judicial Magistrate Bandipora against Farooq Ahmad Dar (SPO) of Rakhi Shilwat, Sumbal Sonawari, who had died at the time of presentation of the chargesheet.
The CJM on 12 December 2011 recorded his dissent with police investigation and felt that the police higher officers and officials were being shielded by fastening guilt on the dead SPO.
It directed for further investigation by the Crime Branch Kashmir.
Subsequently, the Crime Branch carried out an investigation and filed a chargesheet before the CJM last year, indicting Thakur and Khan as well as Akther Hussain Mir (Selection Grade constable) who at the time of filing of the chargesheet was posted at Brusrar Power Project Kishtwar, and late Farooq Ahmed Dar (SPO).
The sub inspectors had filed two separate revision petitions, seeking court’s directions to set aside 4 July 2016 order by Principal Sessions Judge Bandipora.

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