Chittor encounter: AP government told to file counter on plea seeking CBI probe

20 people were killed during a police operation in Seshachalam hill ranges last month

Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court on Friday directed Andhra Pradesh government to file a counter on a petition seeking a CBI probe into the killing of twenty people in police firing in Chittoor district on April 7.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar directed the state government to file a counter affidavit on the petition filed by Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) on whether investigation should be handed over to CBI or not and posted the matter after summer vacation.

21 people were gunned down in Seshachalam hill ranges of Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh on April 7 in an operation by the police.

The High Court had on April 13 made Muniyammal, the wife of one of the victims Sasi Kumar, a co-petitioner in the case filed by APCLC which alleged that the firing incident was a "brutal and planned murder" by the STF, and those killed in the firing were poor labourers from Tamil Nadu.

Read: 'Order CBI probe on Chittoor killings,' demands Opposition

APCLC counsel V Raghunath, meanwhile, filed an affidavit in the HC today objecting to appointment of IG of Police Ravishankar Ayyanar as head of the Special Investigation Team probing the firing incident, saying "Ayyanar is known as an encounter specialist".

"During his (Ayyanar's) tenure as Superintendent of Police of Guntur, several encounters had taken place. While those are pending, how could he (Ayyanar) do justice to these victims (20 people who were killed in the Chittoor firing)," Raghunath alleged and urged the HC to entrust the probe into the incident to CBI.

Read: NHRC favours judicial enquiry by Andhra Pradesh Government into Chittoor killings

Raghunath also submitted that the Chandragiri SHO Chandrashekhar, under whose jurisdiction the firing occurred, has been made a member of the SIT.

On this, the bench said the two police officers can file their counter affidavits on the objections raised by the petitioner.

"It was a cold-blooded murder of 20 poor labourers from Tamil Nadu," APCLC General Secretary C Chandrasekhar, had alleged and sought directions for registration of an FIR under IPC Section 302 (murder) against the policemen involved in the operation besides seeking a CBI probe into the incident.

Read: Chittoor encounter: Hyderabad High Court asks SIT to complete probe in 60 days

In her complaint with Chandragiri police in Chittoor, Muniyammal alleged that, "It was not an encounter death (as claimed by the police), but was a well-planned and organised crime, committed by the STF (special task force of police)."

Subsequently, based on her complaint, AP police registered an FIR under sections 302 (murder) and 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) against "unknown" STF personnel.

( Source : PTI )
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