No reinvestigation into Shopian twin ‘rape-n-murder’, says HC

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court Tuesday ruled out reinvestigation into the alleged twin rape and murder of Neelofar Jan and her sister-in-law Asiya Jan in Shopian district of south Kashmir in 2009.
Disposing of a PIL and applications filed by the victims’ family, a division bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur also turned down the plea for continuous monitoring of the case by it.
“We feel that the investigation agency, CBI, having completed its investigation and presented the chargesheet, no further monitoring is required by this court,” the bench said in the judgment, announced nearly eleven months after reserving it.
“However, we made it clear that should there be any additional evidence or factor available other than the one on record, which has an important bearing in the case, nothing would prevent the trial court in examining the same in accordance with the powers exercisable by it under 173(8) of the Criminal procedure Code.”
The PIL was filed by Kashmir High Court Bar Association in 2009, seeking independent investigation into the case. However, it had withdrawn the proceedings after the case was transferred to CBI for probe.
The family had filed applications, seeking re-investigation by an “independent agency” with the assertion that there were different versions by as many investigations conducted into the “mysterious” incident which triggered massive protests across the Kashmir Valley.
The family had submitted that while one-man Commission headed by Justice (retd) Muzaffar Hussain Jan was “abundantly clear” that the case was of rape and murder, CBI report was “not clear,” and “doubts” were also created by the Special Investigation Team.
“The very basis of the medical and other evidence whereupon the Jan Commission had based its findings and conclusions, in the investigation by CBI have been found to be absolutely false. Therefore Jan Commission report itself cannot form a basis for this court to order investigation into the entire episode,” the bench said.
“The report by Jan Commission even when not binding on an investigation agency, was based on the evidence, the substratum whereof was shaken by the falsification of various post-mortem reports and fudging of evidence by the doctors involved in the post mortem examination of the deceased ladies,” it said.
Validating the CBI investigation, the court observed that the slides sent for scientific examination were allegedly fabricated.
“The doctor who is reported to have earlier conducted the lung floatation test had stated that he had removed the lungs of both the bodies and conducted the Test. But the lungs were found to be intact in the bodies in the subsequent investigation by the CBI,” the court said.
The earlier report submitted by the doctors that it was not a case of death due drowning was, therefore, totally belied by the investigation conducted by the CBI, the bench said.
“Not only this, viscera of Neelofar Jan was actually heart tissue in multiple pieces,” it said.
The court further said that the earlier post-mortem report had reflected that the hymen of Asiya was torn into rags. “But the team of doctors from AIIMS had found hymen of Asiya intact,” the court said.
The case history
On May 29, 2009, Asiya Jan, 17, and her sister-in-law, Neelofar, 22, left for their orchard at Degan Batpora village of Shopian. They didn’t turn up in the evening. Next day their bodies were found in the nearby Ranbiar nallah.
The mysterious deaths triggered massive outrage in the Valley. The government ordered a probe by SIT and Judicial Commission, before the CBI took over the case on September 17, 2009.
On December 14, 2009, CBI concluded that death of the two women occurred due to drowning, which was in contradiction to the one-man Judicial Commission headed by Justice Jan. The Jan commission had held that it was impossible for someone to drown in water level of knuckle height in the stream from the banks of which the bodies were recovered.
The one-man commission of inquiry submitted a 400-page report to the government in which it called for more investigation into the role of forces personnel into the incident.