- The killings occurred at Chattanpally village near Shadnagar, a stone’s throw from where the suspects were alleged to have set the woman’s body on fire after killing her.
- Police had taken the accused to the spot to recover the veterinarian’s mobile phone and accessories.
HYDERABAD: Just eight days after the rape and murder of a veterinary doctor on the outskirts of Hyderabad, the four men suspected of the crime were shot dead in an early Friday morning “encounter” by the Cyberabad police, which claimed the unarmed men had somehow managed to snatch two guns from their escort of 10 cops, all of whom were armed.
The killings occurred at Chattanpally village near Shadnagar
The rape and murder on November 27 night had outraged people across India and led to an outcry for death penalty for the accused after a speedy trial.
Acting on a PIL filed on the police killings, the Telangana high court on Friday evening directed the state government to preserve the bodies of the accused till December 9, videograph the postmortem and submit the video to the district judge in Mahabubnagar.
Earlier, as news of the encounter spread, a large crowd gathered at the spot and cheered the cops and the Telangana government for killing the four men. Many in the crowd distributed sweets among police officials and showered them with flowers.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the killings, NHRC said it would send a team led by a senior police officer to Telangana to probe the matter and prepare a report soon.
Cyberabad police commissioner V C Sajjanar, during whose tenure in Warangal a similar “encounter” had taken place in 2008, told reporters that the accused were killed after they attacked the police party accompanying them and tried to escape.
Asked if the cops had taken the law into their own hands, Sajjanar said, “The law has done its duty. That’s all I can say.” A case of custodial deaths has been registered at the Shadnagar police station. The “encounter” happened between 5.45am and 6.15am in the field of S Satyam, the farmer who had first discovered the woman’s burnt body on November 28, police said.
After reaching the spot on Friday morning, the four men initially took the cops to different corners of the field. When they reached a flat ground about 400 metres from an underpass where they had allegedly burnt the body, the accused showed the spot where they had buried a power bank, wristwatch and cellphone of the woman under a heap of mud and leaves.
“While we were recovering the stolen items, the accused pounced on our team members,” Sajjanar said. “(Mohammed) Areef and C Chennakeshavulu snatched two pistols from our people and opened fire at us. (The other accused) Naveen and Shiva attacked the men with sticks and stones. In self-defence, our team members opened fire. After a while, our team checked the surroundings and found that the four accused had been shot dead.”
Sub-inspector Venkateshwarulu and constable Aravind Goud suffered injuries when they were attacked by the accused with stones and sticks. None of the policemen suffered bullet injuries. “All our police personnel were armed. The accused were not handcuffed at the time of the incident. They were able to open fire because the firearms they snatched were unlocked,” the police commissioner added.
Sajjanar said they have collected DNA samples of the four men. “We suspect that they were involved in similar offences in other parts of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka,” he said. “We will be looking at cases of missing women and where burnt bodies of unknown women have been found.”
Sajjanar was SP of Warangal district in 2008 where three men accused of throwing acid on two women were killed in a police “encounter”. Just as in Chattanpally, the accused in the Warangal case were gunned down when they assaulted accompanying cops while they were trying to recover concealed items. When asked about the Warangal “encounter”, Sajjanar said, “I do not want to comment about it.”
After the “encounter”, a team of forensic experts visited the site and collected evidence, including bullet casings and gunpowder residue.
The veterinary doctor was gang-raped and murdered allegedly by Areef, Shiva, Naveen, and Chennakeshavulu near the Shamshabad toll plaza on November 27. After the murder, the accused had shifted the body to the deserted underpass at Chattanpally in the early hours of November 28 and set it ablaze.
Police had arrested the four accused from their villages in Makhtal mandal of Narayanpet district. They were sent in judicial remand on November 30. On December 3, a local court in Shadnagar gave the police 10-day custody of the accused.
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