Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday ordered fresh investigation into the killing of teenager Tufail Mattoo, which triggered the summer agitation of 2010 in Kashmir, and rejected the closure report filed by a Special Investigation Team of police, observing that an attempt has been made to save certain police officials.
Announcing the judgment after reserving it for eight months, a single bench of Justice Virender Singh asked Director General of Police to handover the investigation of the case to the Crime Branch.
The court also directed that an officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police only shall conduct the investigation and submit status report within eight weeks.
“The court will be reluctant in extending the time except on bonafide grounds as the incident relates to June 2010,” the bench said.
The bench said the Crime Branch will be at liberty to move a formal application before court of Special Mobile Magistrate Srinagar for taking into their possession the entire record of investigation already submitted before it by SIT, resulting into closure of the case “as it may facilitate the Crime Branch to proceed ahead with the investigation afresh.”
The court also quashed March 1, 2013 order passed by Special Mobile Magistrate (PT&E) Srinagar accepting the closure report by it.
17-year-old Tufail was returning home from tuition on June 11, 2010 when a teargas shell fired by the cops hit him on the head near Gani Memorial Stadium in Rajouri Kadal area of old city, killing him on the spot. The killing of the Class 12 standard student, the only child of his parents, had unleashed massive and unprecedented ‘street intifada’ on the streets of Kashmir. More than 120 protesters and bystanders were killed in police and paramilitary CRPF action in the six month agitation.
The investigation was carried by SIT and in November 2012, it filed the final report before High Court, closing the case as untraced.
“The SIT headed by Superintendent of Police has consumed unreasonably good period in concluding the investigation for which no doubt explanation was tendered, but from the status/closure report now submitted before the court, it appears that the matter has not been investigated in the direction it should have been done,” the court said. “It is incomplete on many vital aspects and it appears as if attempt has been made to save certain police officials.”
The allegation of commission of offence is against the police personnel, the court said. “It does not stand to reason that police cannot trace the alleged perpetrator of crime when he/they, is/are the members of police force only.”
The parents of Tufail, court said, have been deprived of their only son who at the time of death was a Class 12 student. “The police cannot be permitted to abdicate its statutory duty of identifying the culprit and bringing him to justice,” the court said.
A criminal case, court said, is totally dependent upon the investigation and in case the investigation is not conducted properly, fairly and impartially, it will result into grave miscarriage of justice.
“Since I am not inclined to accept the closure report filed by SIT and find it to be a case which requires in-depth investigation afresh, it would not be proper for me to express opinion on certain loose ends kept by SIT in its investigation lest the fresh investigation to be conducted is prejudiced by the opinion/expression of this court.”
The judgment was announced by Justice Janak Raj Kotwal as Justice Virender Singh is presently in Jammu wing of the High Court.
The court pronounced verdict on clubbed petitions filed by the family of slain teenager, seeking impartial probe into the killing as well as annulling the orders of acceptance of the closure report by a magistrate.
Advocate Mian Qayoom represented the family while Additional Advocate General R A Khan defended the state in the case.