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HomeIndiaGovernanceSC-appointed Special Task Force 'finds 4 Gujarat encounters suspicious’

SC-appointed Special Task Force ‘finds 4 Gujarat encounters suspicious’

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The STF, headed by former SC judge H.S. Bedi, has indicated the involvement of some police officers in the encounters that followed the 2002 Gujarat riots.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed Special Task Force (STF), which was asked to monitor the investigation into 17 encounter cases in Gujarat between 2002 and 2006, is learnt to have concluded that four encounters were ‘fake’ or ‘suspicious’.

The STF, headed by retired SC judge Harjit Singh Bedi, which was appointed in 2012, submitted a 230-page report to the apex court on 26 February 2018.

Sources familiar with the contents of the report told ThePrint that Bedi has indicated the involvement of some police officers in the allegedly dubious encounters that followed the 2002 riots in Gujarat.

The names include retired IPS officer D.G. Vanzara, who was head of the Gujarat Crime Branch at the time, and was recently acquitted in the case of the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

However, the STF has not indicted any political heavyweight. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat at the time these encounters took place.

While several of the witnesses, including kin of the alleged fake encounter victims, chose not to depose before the STF, Justice Bedi’s inquiries found gaping holes in four cases.

Also read: SC orders disclosing Bedi panel’s report on Gujarat alleged fake encounters to petitioners

SC’s direction

The Supreme Court Wednesday directed that a copy of the report, which is still not in the public domain, be given to the petitioners in the case.

This is significant, since the petitioners in the case could potentially lodge cases against the police officers named in the report once they receive a copy.

Interim compensation

In the four cases that were found to be suspicious, interim compensation has been granted to the victims.

The kin of Sameer Khan Pathan, who was shot dead on 22 October 2002 in what was one of the first encounters, have been granted the highest interim compensation of Rs 20 lakh, sources said. Pathan was accused by the police of being a Jaish-e-Muhammad operative who had intended to assassinate Modi.

Also read: Sohrabuddin killed former Gujarat home minister Pandya: Witness tells trial court

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