‘Can’t be tried for the same offence again’
Srinagar: Stating that no one can be tried for the same offence twice, a report by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has said that 19 Border Security Force personnel involved in 1993 Sopore massacre have been awarded punishment and the matter is sub-judice before competent court of law.
The BSF personnel involved in killing of nearly 53 civilians were identified as Prakash Singh, B.B Joshi, Ajaib Singh, Charan Singh, Sudama Rai, Sanjay Kumar, Raj Kumar, S N Singh, Baljeet Singh, Mohan Singh, Tej Raj Singh, Ranvir Singh, Chur Chand Sharma, Vachaspati Sharma, Mohan Lal, Umesh Pal Singh, Rajendra Kumar, Virender Singh and Purshotam Singh.
The CBI report to SHRC comes in response to a petition filed by activist Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, who sought details about the accused personnel including their names, and details of punishment.
The CBI report said that a Staff Court of Inquiry was conducted by the BSF in the firing incident of January 6, 1993 in which 19 BSF personnel were blamed for various acts of commissions and omissions.
During proceedings personnel Sanjay Kumar died and on the completion of Records of Evidence (ROE), the charges were dismissed against Baljeet Singh, Umesh Pal Singh, Virender Singh and Purshotam Singh for lack of evidence against them.
However, personnel Sudama Rai, Raj Kumar, Chur Chand Sharma, Tej Raj Sharma, Rajender Kumar, Mohan Singh, Prakash Singh, Vachaspati Sharma were awarded punishment.
Similarly, constable Mohan Singh was dismissed from the service by his unit on December 12, 1996 and his name too was deleted from the charge sheet. Further administrative action was taken against B.B Joshi while charges against Ajaib Singh and Charan Singh were dismissed after completion of trial.
“Thus, all the accused personnel who were found guilty during the Court of Inquiry and Record of Evidence proceedings, were tried by the General Security Force Court under the BSF Act and Rules and based on the findings, the Court awarded sentence to the accused persons. As per law, no one can be tried and punished twice for the same offences as the same will amount to double jeopardy,” the report reads.
The report also said that as per the human rights act, when in a matter, final report has been filed under section 173, CRPC, (J&K), in the competent court and the matter is sub-judice, the jurisdiction of the commission to entertain any other complaint is not maintainable.
Untoo in his application has stated that 77 civilians were killed by the BSF men on January 6, 1993 in Sopore while as 100 houses and 300 shops were torched.
“The BSF personnel who have been charged under section 304/307 and 436 RPC and have been convicted, the names of those convicted BSF personnel have not been communicated and were those BSF personnel have been lodged for serving their sentence,” the petitioner had argued.