Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Head of STF probing Gujarat encounters meets investigators

Chief of Supreme Court-appointed Special Task Force, Justice (retired) H S Bedi, on Thursday met top cops probing various policeencounter deathsin Gujarat and advised them to conduct free and fair investigations.
    The SC-appointed STF is probing 16 encounter killings by Gujarat police. Bedi was on a two-day Gujarat visit which began on Wednesday.
    On Wednesday, Bedi case held a joint meeting withinvestigators and police officers who are part of the STF. During the meeting, investigators and supervisory officers presented Bedi their progress report and made a presentation on the cases now being probed.
    On Thursday, Bedi met the high-level team monitoring the STF’s progress. He briefed the additional chief secretary (Home), Director General of Police andother senior officers who are keeping a close watch on the investigations of STF.
    Bedi informed them about case progress and also issued a public notification. “The notification is meant for kin of the people killed in these encounters. The notice is specially meant for those who had gone to receive the bodies of victims. Through the notification we want to urge these people to come forth and meet with STF officials if they want to say something about the encounters,” said an STF member.
    Among the first cases to be taken up by STF officials is an encounter by Borsad police which killed a historysheeter, Rajendra alias Mintu Pandey, on April 6, 2005.
    STF officials said: “Rajendra hailed from Bihar and in 2005 he was active in central Gujarat. He was behind several incidents of armed robbery and extortion. On March 28, 2005, Borsad police arrested him and he was in police remand when the incident took place.”
    STF sources said, of the 16 cases, most encounters concerned people from outside the state and their family members had yet not filed complaints in this regard. STF officials said that the relatives of those killed in encounters would alsobesummonedtosee if they had something to say.