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News18 » India
3-min read

Law Has Done Its Duty, Top Cop Says on Hyderabad Encounter Deaths Amid Doubts Over Police Version

Cyberabad commissioner CV Sajjanar said police was forced to fire in retaliation after the accused started hitting them with stones and sharp objects and snatched their weapons.


Updated:December 6, 2019, 11:27 PM IST
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Law Has Done Its Duty, Top Cop Says on Hyderabad Encounter Deaths Amid Doubts Over Police Version
Policemen stand guard where four accused in the rape-and-murder case of a 25-year-old woman veterinarian were shot dead by police. (PTI)

Hyderabad: Law has done its duty, Cyberabad police commissioner CV Sajjanar said on Friday after the pre-dawn ‘encounter’ killing of the four accused in the rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Telangana even as questions are being raised over the authenticity of the police action.

At a press conference held around 3 pm, around nine hours after the four men were shot dead, Sajjanar asserted that the police personnel only resorted to "retaliatory" firing after two of the accused opened fire at police after snatching weapons from them this morning.

"We had to fire in retaliation after the accused started hitting us with stones and sharp objects and snatched our weapons," said the police chief, adding that the police had been restrained and had repeatedly asked the accused to surrender.

He said that the accused, all aged between 20 and 24, were not hand-cuffed and they ganged up to “assault” the policemen, who were 10 in number.

He claimed that one of the accused, Mohammed Arif, was the first to open fire. The police returned fire after initial "restraint" and asking the accused to surrender, he told reporters. The snatched weapons were in "unlocked" position, he added.

Around 1.45 pm, more than eight hours after the four were killed in the alleged encounter, the police had allowed the media to see the spot, which was barely 500 metres from the place where the charred body of the 26-year-old vet was found last week.

The bodies of the four men – Mohammed Arif, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Navin, Chennakesavulu – still lay there as a crowd of hundreds had gathered.

The bodies were close to each other, with barely a gap of 5 metres between each of them. There were guns in the hands of two of them – Arif and Chennakesavulu – and this Sajjanar said was proof that they had snatched guns.

Detailing the events leading to the exchange of fire, Sajjanar said the police team comprising ten police officials brought the accused to the location based on their 'confession' to recover a cellphone and 'other objects.'

"... all the four accused got together, they started attacking the police party with stones, sticks, and other material. And they also they snatched away weapons from our two officers and started firing," he said.

When asked why the accused were brought to the spot late at night, the commissioner said that they were brought early in the morning and not late at night. He said this was necessary since the outraged public had tried to attack the accused when they were taken to a police station.

Earlier, a police official had said that the encounter happened around 3.30 am, but the police commissioner said the encounter started at 5.45 am and lasted 30 minutes. No explanation was offered to explain the discrepancy.

The police commissioner, who is the common link in a remarkably similar encounter killing in Warangal in 2008, said that the examination of the four bodies showed they all had bullet injuries.

Prime accused Arif started attacking the police party followed by another accused, Chennakeshavulu. "The duo was found with the weapons that were snatched from police officials and from which they opened the fire on the police," he said.

Two policemen, a police sub-inspector and a constable, also suffered injuries, but they were not bullet injuries, he added.

The four, arrested a day after the crime, had been in custody of the police since Wednesday.

"In the last four days, we did DNA profiling, collected scientific evidence to prove the crime. We suspect the four were hardcore criminals, involved in other offences," said the police chief.

He said on November 27, the woman veterinarian was kidnapped and sexually assaulted and later found murdered and the accused subsequently burned the body. Ten teams were formed to crack the case, Sajjanar said.

About the criticism and also the NHRC notice, Sajjanar said "Law has done its duty and that's what I can say. We will tell them about the investigation. We will answer and send the report to the government and the NHRC. They were killed in exchange of fire."

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