Vet-doctor encounter case: SC panel receives 1,365 affidavits

Hyderabad: Over 1,300 affidavits have been received by the three-member panel formed by the Supreme Court to probe the circumstances that led to the alleged encounter of four people arrested in connection with the rape and murder of a veterinary doctor here.

In response to a notification issued in February, the commission’s office has received 1,365 affidavits, an official release said on Friday.

While the family members of three people who died in the ‘encounter’ filed their affidavits on March 5, those of the police personnel involved in the incident were received on June 15.

The judicial commission headed by former Supreme Court Judge V S Sirpurkar held its first sitting on February 3.

Subsequently, it could not meet due to the lockdown announced to contain the spread of COVID-19 across the nation.

“As per the directions of the Commission, a public notification was issued on February 5 calling upon all persons acquainted with the incident to file before it, their respective affidavits disclosing facts within their knowledge,” it said.

The four accused were arrested on November 29 last year two days after they allegedly kidnapped the veterinarian, killed her after raping and then burnt the body at Chattanpalli near here.

On December 6, the Cyberabad police said all the four were killed in “retaliatory” firing after two of the accused opened fire at police after snatching their weapons besides attacking the latter with stones and sticks, resulting in injuries to two policemen.

“In response to the notification, in all 1,365 affidavits have been received by the Office of the Commission. The family members of three of the persons who died in the incident filed their affidavits on March 5.

The affidavits of the Police personnel involved in the incident were received on June 15. The state government is yet to respond,” the release said.

The Telangana government also constituted a Special Investigation Team headed by Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat to look into the alleged encounter issue.

As most of the records from the SIT as well as affidavits received in response to the public notice were in Telugu language, the office of the Commission got it translated to English.

The translated records running into thousands of pages were then verified and collated by the Secretary and the staff of the Commission, it added.

Though the Commission was scheduled to sit on March 23 and 24, it had to be suspended due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The committee explored the possibility and viability of conducting online hearings and sittings to complete the inquiry expeditiously.

But, after considering several aspects it found that virtual hearing was not feasible as it would involve participation of several persons, witnesses deposing before it, advocates appearing for the different persons, whose security and confidentiality has to be ensured.

Despite the constraints imposed by the unexpected circumstances, the Commission is committed and has been looking for different ways to complete expeditiously, the enquiry assigned to it, the release said.