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Shopian clean chit to cops sparks protests in Valley

By Mukhtar Ahmad
Last updated on: December 14, 2009 19:06 IST
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In an embarrassment for the state government and the one-man Jan Commission appointed by it, the Central Bureau of Investigation found nothing against four policemen – Superintendent Javed Iqbal Mattoo, Deputy Superintendent Rohit Basgotra, Station House Officer Shafiq Ahmed and Sub Inspector Gazi Karim – in the Shopian case.

The four had spent two months in jail following orders from the high court, which had said it was convinced with the findings of the special investigating team constituted by it to probe the incident that they allegedly tried to destroy the evidence.

The CBI has now filed chargesheet against six doctors -- Nighat Shaheen, G Q Sofi, Maqbool Mir, G M Paul, Bilal Ahmed Dalal and Nazia Hassan -- under Sections 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document) and section 194 (giving or fabricating evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence) of the Ranbir Penal Code.

The CBI alleged that the doctors did not carry out the postmortem properly and gave a false report that the two victims had been raped before being murdered. The medicos were also charged for preparing false vaginal slides.

Ironically, five lawyers, including the former and present public prosecutor Mushtaq Ahmed Gattoo and Sheikh Mubarak respectively, were charged for allegedly conspiring and intimidating witnesses to make false submissions before a magistarte about women cries being heard from a police van.

Besides these two lawyers, others include Abdul Majid Dar, Mohammed Yusuf Bhat and Altaf Ahmed. They all have been charged with section 194, 342 (wrongful confinement) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

The five lawyers have been charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy with Ali Mohammed Sheikh and Zahoor Ahmed Ahnger in pressuring two -- Abdul Rashid and G M Lone -- in giving false statement under oath before a magistrate that they had heard women cries coming from a police vehicle.

The CBI questioned Rashid and Lone, who told the agency sleuths that they had been pressurised by the lawyers through Sheikh and Ahnger.

The CBI got their fresh confessional statement registered before a chief judicial magistrate.

A police constable, Mohammed Yaseen Ganai, has also been chargesheeted for allegedly giving false information and false charges made with an intent to injure.

The CBI took over the investigation into the case on September 17 and a team headed by Deputy Inspector General Satish Golcha has been camping in Srinagar since then.

The agency's Special Director S C Sinha had also visited the place to take stock of the situation.

Ahead of the CBI investigations, the state government had appointed one-man commission headed by Justice (Retired) Muzzafar Jan who, among other things, had recommended a detailed questioning of the relatives of the victims including Neelofar's husband Shakeel and her brother Zirar Shah.

With inputs from PTI

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar