‘It was the duty of investigation agencies to bring witnesses before court’
SRINAGAR: A trial court in Srinagar on Saturday directed police to produce witnesses in the fake encounter case of Showkat Kataria, a cleric.
Principal district and sessions judge Rashid Ali Dar passed the direction to public prosecutor to bring the witnesses in the case on the next date of hearing.
The court observed that the witnesses were not turning up in the court to depose their statements, which is hampering the trial of the cases. It was the duty of investigation agencies to bring witnesses before court, the order said.
SSP Parrihar, who is the main accused in the case, was present in the court. While the former SSP is on interm bail granted by High Court at Jammu last year, the other five accused were brought from Central Jail Srinagar in connection with the proceedings of the case. These include DySP Bahadur Ram, ASI Farooq Gudoo, Driver Farooq Ahmed Padder, Manzoor Ahmed Malik, and Mohammad Ashraf, a resident of Ganderbal.
The 2006 case surfaced when Showkat Ahmad Kataria, who was an Imam in a masjid at Zadibal, was killed in fake encounter. As per the SIT investigation, Kataria, a resident of Banihal in Jammu region, was picked up by the SOG men in league with army and subsequently killed in a fake gunfight in October 2006 to be passed off as a foreign militant. Kataria’s identity was established after DNA tests.
As per the SIT, Mohammad Ashraf, a resident of Choont Waliwar 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 Army kidnapped Kataria from the mosque on the fateful day and later killed him in fake encounter at Ajas Bandipora. Kataria was passed off Pakistani militant Abu Zahid. The plan, according to SIT, was revealed during investigation by ASI Farooq Ahmad Gudoo.