A committee investigating several cases of alleged fake encounters in Gujarat between 2002 and 2006 has recommended the prosecution of police officials in three out of the 17 cases probed by it, PTI reported on Saturday. The committee, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice HS Bedi, had submitted its final report to the top court in February last year.
Justice Bedi in the report said that three persons – Sameer Khan, Kasam Jafar and Haji Haji Ismail – were prime facie killed in fake encounters by Gujarat Police officials. The report indicted nine police officials, including three officers of the rank of inspector. However, it has not recommended prosecution of any Indian Police Service officer in these cases.
A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi decided to make public the report against the protests of the Gujarat government, The Hindu reported. All 17 cases of alleged fake encounters took place when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat.
The bench also ordered that the report be given to petitioners, including poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar.
The cases include a man allegedly ordered to kill Modi
In Sameer Khan’s case, the committee recommended the prosecution of two inspectors – KM Vaghela and TA Barot – for murder and other relevant offences. According to the police, Khan had stabbed to death a police constable in May 1996 and then fled from the spot. He allegedly went to Pakistan, received training from Jaish-e-Mohammad, and came back to India via Nepal.
The police claim that Khan had been ordered to kill Modi after the attack on the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar in 2002. The Crime Branch arrested Khan in a case related to waging war against the country. When he was taken to the spot where he had stabbed the constable in 1996, Khan snatched inspector Vaghela’s revolver, fired at him and ran away.
The police allege that Barot and another inspector AA Chauhan, both now dead, fired at Khan. He was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead. However, the committee concluded that Khan was killed in a fake encounter and has recommended Rs 10 lakh compensation for his family.
In Jafar’s case, the police had claimed he was picked up with 17 others from a hotel in Ahmedabad in April 2006. He allegedly escaped during transit and his body was recovered underneath a bridge a day later. “The effort of the police officers to dub the deceased and his companions as criminals has also not been successful as no evidence whatsover has been produced to show that they had been involved in any crime,” Justice Bedi wrote.
The committee recommended that Jafar’s family be awarded Rs 14 lakh as compensation.
Ismail, a notorious smuggler, had allegedly opened fire at a police party in October 2005 upon being intercepted. The police’s version claimed they fired at him in self -defence, leading to his death at a government hospital. But the postmortem report showed that several shots of the 20 in total were fired from a close range, which suggested “custodial killing”.