Hyderabad: Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of Shamshabad, N. Prakash Reddy, whose cross-examination in Disha encounter case concluded on Wednesday told the enquiry panel that there were dissimilarities in what he briefed the then police commissioner of Cyberabad V.C. Sajjanar, and what the latter revealed to the press. The official was questioned by the three-member panel appointed by the Supreme Court to probe the alleged ‘encounter’ of the four accused involved in the Disha case.
The commission stated that the DCP had a ‘selective memory’ and that there were several ‘inconsistencies’ in his answers. “Sometimes you seem to divulge exact time and date and other times you do even seem to remember if it was afternoon or night,” said former Bombay High Court judge Rekha Sondur Baldota, who is one of the members in the panel.
When asked whether he informed Sajjanar if it was the accused Jollu Naveen’s idea to deflate the tyres of the victim Disha, the DCP replied he did not brief him about it. However, upon his own request, the video footage of the press meet was played, in which Sajjanar can be clearly heard stating that it was Jollu Naveen’s idea to deflate the tyres. “Whatever I briefed to the police commissioner (Sajjanar) has been presented differently by him during the press meet. I told him that all four accused conspired to deflate the tyres and that Naveen had executed it,” said the official. The DCP gave evasive replies to several other questions asked by the panel.
Upon being asked why he did not correct the commissioner during the press meet when he was allegedly misrepresenting facts, the DCP said there was a lot of noise and he could not hear him properly, even though the panel pointed out that he was sitting right beside the official during the meeting. “In retrospect, I think I should have corrected him,” replied the DCP.
He told the panel that after repeated requests from the media persons, he requested the commissioner to hold a press meet and stated that there were about 50 news channels and 20 newspaper journalists. The panel pointed out that it was against the observation of the Supreme Court that cops can discourage media briefing during an ongoing investigation. The DCP said the press meetings did not hamper the investigation, following which the panel pulled out an earlier deposition stating that the press meet held at 3 pm on December 6, 2019, had caused the officials, including forensics and Clues team, to gather evidence because of the crowd and close proximity of the press meet from the crime-scene. The panel stopped the cross-examination of the DCP after 201 questions on Wednesday evening.