Tufail Mattoo killing: Take all steps to conclude probe, HC tells Crime Branch

Srinagar: The J&K High Court has asked Crime Branch of Police to take all possible steps to conclude its investigation into the killing of teenager Tufail Mattoo during the 2010 agitation.
Tufail, 17, was returning home from tuition on June 11, 2010 when a teargas shell fired by the police 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 student, the only child of his parents, unleashed massive and unprecedented ‘street intifada’ across the Valley. More than 120 protesters and bystanders were killed in police and paramilitary CRPF action in the six-month agitation.
On Wednesday, as the case came up for hearing before a bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, the Crime Branch moved an application seeking 12 more weeks to conclude the investigation.
In support of its contentions, the Crime Branch said it has to obtain call detail record (CDR) of a police official. Besides, it said the team of doctors, who conducted autopsy of the boy, is to be examined afresh.
The court granted the time sought by the Crime Branch and directed it take all possible steps to take the investigation to its logical conclusion.
Prior to Crime Branch, the investigation was conducted by a Special Investigation Team of police, constituted on the directions by the court. But the SIT closed the case as “not proved”.
Subsequently, a closure report was accepted by a Special Mobile Magistrate (PT&E) Srinagar on March 1 last year. The order of closure was challenged before High Court by the family of the slain teenager.
On February 14 last, the court quashed the order and entrusted the investigation to the Crime Branch after observing that the police investigation was incomplete on many vital aspects and “it appears as if an attempt has been made to save certain police officials.”
“In our constitutional scheme, it is the duty of the State to protect the life and liberty of its citizens. When an offence has been committed, it is the duty of the State to investigate the case fairly and expeditiously and ensure that the culprits are brought to justice.
“It has been stated more than once that until such time justice is meted out to the aggrieved persons, there will be no peace in the society. Meeting out justice to the aggrieve(d) alone guarantees peace in the society,” the court had said.
Advocate Mian Tufail represented the family while Additional Advocate General R A Jan was present on behalf of the Crime Branch. A Superintendent of Police, who is also part of the investigation, was also present before the court.