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Ganderbal fake encounter case: Hearing adjourned due to strike, court to hear SIT head on Mar 5
SRINAGAR, Feb 20: A city court today adjourned hearing in Abdul Rehman Padroo ‘fake’ encounter case till March 5.

Sources in the court of principal district and session’s judge said, on March 5, the court will now record the remaining statement of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) head who had probed the matter.

On November 15, 2012, while terming Padroo fake encounter case, as ‘rarest of the rare’, the SIT head presently posted as SSP Budgam had prayed for death sentence to seven accused including former SSP Ganderbal Hans Raj Parihar.

Uttam Chand, SSP Budgam who headed the SIT in 2007 deposed before the court that the evidence gathered by him showed the involvement of seven accused including the then SSP Parihar, DySP Bahadur Ram, ASI Farooq Gudoo, driver Farooq Ahmad Padder, Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Constable Bhansi Lal had hatched a criminal conspiracy and were involved in killing of Padroo a carpenter from Larnoo Kokernag.

SSP Chand had also submitted a written copy of his statement before the court. The court recorded his statement partially and adjourned the matter till December 10. According to Nazar Mohammad Khan, special public prosecutor, the SIT head demanded death penalty for all the accused in the matter and identified all of them in the court.

On September 20, 2012 the court had recorded direct examination of Shuja Ahmad Latoo, the then Deputy Superintendent of Police Hazratbal who was a member of SIT probing Ganderbal ‘fake encounter’ killings.

It may be recalled that after the Ganderbal fake encounter surfaced in 2007, a SIT was constituted by the state government to investigate the matter. As soon the investigations proceeded, it came to fore that civilians were lured for jobs and were allegedly killed in cold blood. Abdul Rehman Padaroo a carpenter who disappeared on December 8, 2006 was one among the victims of such an encounter which took place in Ganderbal.

The SIT had exhumed Padaroo’s body in Sumbal area of Baramulla district. The victim carpenter had went missing from Batmaloo bus stand on December 8, reportedly after he was taken to Waskoora in Ganderbal district during the night where he was killed allegedly in a fake encounter by the Special Operation Group (SOG) posted in Ganderbal and Sumbal camps.

A body with mutilated face was later recovered from the spot whom the SOG had dubbed as Abu Hafiz besides claiming recovery of some ammunition from the encounter site, police had said. After the racket got cracked by the police, the DNA taken from the body of Padroo matched with that of his relatives in Larnoo Kokernag, confirming that the gunned down ‘foreign militant’ was not from Pakistan but an abducted carpenter.

The DNA samples were taken from Padroo’s molar tooth, sternum and finger nails and were matched with the blood samples taken from his parents. Around 11 police personnel from SOG were arrested in the case. The charge sheet was filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Bandipora.

Bodies of Nazeer Ahmed Deka, who was killed in February 2006 and Showkat Ahmad Khan, who disappeared in October 2006 were exhumed in Ganderbal.

After protests broke out across Kashmir over these killings in 2007, Police had on February 3, 2007 arrested the then Ganderbal SSP H R Parihar and Deputy Superintendent of Police Bahadur Ram. Police had later registered a case against Parihar, Bahadur Ram, the then ASI Farooq Gudoo, driver Farooq Ahmad Padder and Constable Bhansi Lal. A case was also registered against four army personnel including 13 RR Colonel Vikram Singh, Major Naveen Yadaw, Hawaldar K Mohandas and Naik Manoj Singh.

According to Ashok Parihar, the counsel for H R Parihar, the defense has prayed before the court that it will cross examine the SIT members only after their direct examination is concluded by the prosecution. “Sofar 83 witnesses have been cross examined. But we have decided to cross examine the SIT members only after their examination in chief is over,” added advocate Parihar.

In August, 2011, the same court had recorded the statement of Dr Sanjeev a DNA expert at Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) Chandigarh. According to Special Public Prosecutor Nazar Mohammad Khan, Dr Sanjeev, the DNA expert had confirmed before the court that the report prepared and issued by the CFSL Chandigarh regarding DNA testing of Abdul Rehman Padroo, a carpenter who was killed in a fake encounter in Ganderbal in 2006 was accurate.

The expert further described that the report issued in February 2007 has 100 per cent accuracy and was prepared with extra caution, given the sensitivity of the case, sources in the court said. Dr Sanjeev was later cross examined by the lawyers for the accused and the hearing took around one and a half hours.

Padroo, left behind his shattered family which include his father Ghulam Rasool, 74, mother Sara, 69, wife Muneera 34 and five children Rasi Jaan , Gazia, Rahil and Insha.

News Updated at : Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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