Probe Confirms Shopian Rape, Murder; Blames Cops For 'destroying Evidence'

21 June 2009
The Times of India

Srinagar: The one-man judicial commission inquiring into the alleged rape and murder of two women in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district on Sunday submitted an interim report suggesting action against police officials on the charge of 'destroying evidence' and also pointed the 'needle of suspicion' to their involvement in the crime. Justice (retd) Muzzafar Jan submitted its report to the state government and alleged that Superintendent of Police Javed Iqbal, Deputy SP and Station House Office had 'tried to destroy evidence' in the case, sources said. The commission, which was set up on June one after massive protests rocked the valley over the May 30 alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian, remained silent over the cause of death of the two but said '...the way police tried to destroy evidence, finger of suspicion falls on them.' The sources said Justice Jan also recommended action against some civil and medical officials of Shopian district for the lapses in the conduct of the probe into the rape and murder of Neelofar Jan and her 18-year-old sister-in-law Asiya Jan on the intervening night of May 29 and 30. The sources said the Commission was of the view that the conduct of the some of the officials, including doctors who conducted the first post mortem on the victims and an official of the Forensic Science Laboratory had led to loss of crucial evidence. The Commission, which was appointed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on June 3, submitted the interim report to the state government after examining more than a dozen witnesses, including then Superintendent of Police Javid Iqbal, doctors who conducted the post mortem and an official of the FSL Srinagar. The commission had grilled the then SP for nearly six hours spread over two days to explain his conduct in the case. He was questioned as to why he did not attend to the case personally when the bodies of the victims were recovered and did not register an FIR in the case. The FSL official was asked to explain why he did not counter-sign the report of the samples taken from the victims prepared by his laboratory, which was mandatory for processing the reports. The official had reportedly not put his signatures on the report for at least two days, thus delaying the investigations. The government transferred the Deputy Commissioner Shopian within three days of the incident while a week later the SP was also transferred.