New Delhi: A fresh probe into the Pathribal fake encounter case is not ruled out in view of the major controversy that has erupted after the Army gave a clean chit to its personnel involved in the infamous incident which took place in Kashmir in 2000.
Indications in this regard came on a day when Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh met Defence Minister A K Antony here Monday.
It was not clear what transpired between them during the meeting.
Sources, however, said reopening of the Pathribal case cannot be ruled out considering the controversy and the sensitive nature of the incident.
Earlier in the day, Antony reviewed the security situation in the country with National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and the chiefs of Army, Air Force and Navy.
Army last week closed the Pathribal fake encounter case saying the evidence recorded could not establish prime facie charges against any of the five accused Army men, including four officers.
The Army is facing criticism from several quarters including Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who plans to take it up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In the March 25, 2000 encounter, five civilians were shot dead by the soldiers of 7 Rashtriya Rifles and passed off as foreign militants responsible for the March 20 massacre of 36 members of Sikh community in Chittisinghpora village. The case was handed over to the CBI.
The CBI said in 2006 that the five accused soldiers—Brig Ajay Saxena, Lt Col Brahendra Pratap Singh, Maj Saurabh Sharma, Maj Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan—were involved in the murder of five villagers, dubbing them as foreign militants before the media.
The CBI, in its chargesheet, had said that the Army officials of had staged a fake encounter and killed five innocent civilians whom they said were militants.
The CBI said the killing of innocents was a result of “tremendous psychological pressure” on the Army unit to show results after the massacre in Chittisinghpora on the eve of the visit of then US President Bill Clinton to India.—PTI