Tufail Mattoo killing: CBK calls for police record, seeks 12 weeks to complete probe

Srinagar: The Crime Branch Kashmir (CBK) has sought at least 12 weeks from J&K High Court to complete its investigation into the killing of teenager Tufail Mattoo, which triggered the summer agitation of 2010 in the Valley.
Having taken up the investigation on the directions by the court, the CBK has sought time to enable it “investigate all possible angles relevant to the case.”
In its status report, the CBK has stated that in order to widen the scope of the investigation “beyond the recorded track”, the concerned police stations as well as adjacent police station have been asked to provide the log books of the vehicles which were in operation on the date of incident.
“(This would enable the CBK) to investigate the aspects of the case related to the involvement or non-involvement of the officials posted in the police stations or posts bordering the area of the incident.”
Tufail, 17, 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.
“Some of other witnesses who had been examined earlier in the case have also been re-summoned to CBK so that they are examined afresh in addition to what they have already stated, keeping in view all the circumstances in which the death of the boy took place,” the CBK report reads.
The report also divulges investigation progress by the CBK so far after the reopening of the investigation in compliance to the direction by the High Court in February this year.
“Some police officers, officials privy to the initial investigation were called to CBK and re-examined,” it said.
Further, it said, a lady—Mst Atiqa who has said to have witnessed the police official allegedly firing at Tufail on the fateful day was again summoned to the CBK on April 7.
“Her version of the events was reheard. While being asked to explain as to how she had pinpointed a particular police official during the TIP (Test Identification Parade) as the alleged person responsible for the death of the deceased which (as per SIT) turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, the lady recounted that her assumption was based on the apparent physical dimensions of the official whose physique was quite similar to that of the alleged police official whom she had grappled with, at the time of the incident while he allegedly tried to flee from the spot.”
She, the report said, also gave some indications of the type of the weapon used by the alleged police official “which is very sparingly used by the police official while dealing with law and order duties.”
However, report said, further efforts in this direction are being made afresh so as to correlate it with the records that are maintained in police stations, post for issue of arms and ammunition to the police officials on duty.
“Pertinently in the summer turmoil of 2010, there was a huge concentration of forces in and around Srinagar city in general and downtown in particular for the maintenance of order, details whereof are also being looked into further.”
While taking the CBK report on record, a bench of Justice Bansi Lal Bhat asked petitioner, maternal uncle of the teenager, to file response to it within two weeks.
On February last, the High Court had ordered fresh investigation into the killing, and had rejected the closure report filed by a Special Investigation Team of police, observing that an attempt has been made to save certain police officials.
The court had directed Director General of Police to entrust the investigation to CBK to be headed by an officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police and submit status report within eight weeks.
The court had also quashed March 1, 2013 order passed by Special Mobile Magistrate (PT&E) Srinagar accepting the closure report by SIT.
The court had observed that SIT report was 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 had 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 had said.
A criminal case, court had 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.
Advocate Nasir Qadri represented the family while Additional Advocate General R A Khan defended the state in the case.