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Shopian case: J&K HC grants bail to cops

Last updated on: September 11, 2009 16:16 IST
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The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday granted bail to four policemen who were accused of having a role in the controversial Shopian murder case.

The policemen -- former superintendent of police of Shopian Javed Iqbal Mattoo, Deputy Superintendent of Police Rohit Baskota, Station House Officer Shopian Shafiq Ahmed and Sub-inspector Gazi Abdul Rehman -- were released on payment of a bond of Rs 50, 000 each. The four had been accused of destroying evidence related to the case.

The court also ordered that if the officers would be re-arrested with the permission of the Shopian sessions court if the Central Bureau of Investigation found fresh evidence against them.

Last month, the Jammu and Kashmir government had decided to hand over the controversial rape and murder case involving two women to the CBI.

The state Cabinet unanimously took the decision hours after opposition parties created uproar in the state assembly alleging tampering of DNA test reports in the case.

Friday's granting of bail came almost a month after the same court rejected an earlier bail plea.

The court had then rejected their plea under the Section 497 of CRPC (discretionary powers of the judge to grant bail or not).

The four had also moved a petition in the Supreme Court against the ruling of the high court, to arrest these officers and also to collect blood samples to prepare the DNA mapping of these officers.

An apex court bench headed by the Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan had asked the Shopian sessions court to expeditiously consider the bail pleas.

During the hearing, the bench had said the high court should have left it to the superior police officers to investigate the case and should have entitled the police officers to move for bail before the appropriate court.

The bench had also expressed surprise that only because of agitation the investigation was handed over to the Special Investigation Team.

The high court, hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by J&K High Court Bar Association in connection with alleged rape and murder of Neelofar and Aasiya Jan in Shopian, ordered for the arrest of four police officers who were suspended in the same the case. The court also ordered to constitute SIT and DNA mapping of these officers.

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