The Telangana High Court today directed authorities to conduct a second postmortem of the bodies of four accused in the gang-rape and murder of a woman veterinarian near Hyderabad last month. The four were killed in an alleged encounter on December 6.
The bodies of the four accused are at the state-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad as per earlier orders of the High Court, after some pleas were filed alleging extra-judicial killing of the men and claiming it was a fake encounter.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy directed Telangana Principal Secretary, Medical and Health Department, to request the Director of All India Medical Sciences, Delhi to constitute a medical team with three expert forensic specialists to conduct the second postmortem.
The bench further directed that the autopsy should be conducted before December 23, and the report with their findings should be submitted to the Registrar General of the High Court.
After the postmortem, the bodies can be handed over to the families kin of the four men.
The doctors were advised to express an independent view on the basis of the evidence collected by them.
The bench also directed the Chief of the Special Investigation team (SIT) constituted by the State government to investigate into the encounter killings to seize all material objects such as case diary, movement register of the police officials, inventory of the weapons used by the officials in the encounter among others.
The same should be placed before the Commission constituted by the Supreme Court whenever requested.
The bench passed the orders after hearing a bunch of petitions seeking a direction from the court. The bench directed that the state government shall make all arrangements for the air travel of the medical team from AIIMS, for their accommodation and other facilities which would enable them to efficiently discharge the duty
assigned to them.
On Friday, the Advocate General of Telangana argued the bodies of the four were already subjected to postmortem as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court and hence there was no necessity for passing any order for a re-postmortem.
However, the amicus curiae D Prakash Reddy had contended the bodies were preserved under the directions of the High Court to consider the necessity of second postmortem and the Supreme Court also endorsed it.
The Supreme Court last week appointed a three-member Inquiry Commission headed by former apex court judge VS Sirpurkar to inquire into the circumstances leading to the encounter killing of the four accused in the gang-rape and murder of the veterinarian.
The commission, which also included former Bombay High Court judge Rekha Sondur Baldota and ex-CBI director DR Karthikeyan, will submit its report to the Supreme Court in six months.
The four accused were arrested on November 29 for allegedly raping and killing the woman veterinarian and later burning her body. The issue rocked the nation with widespread protests across the country seeking stringent punishment for the culprits.
On December 6, they were gunned down by police at Chattanpalli when they were taken to the site of offence for the reconstruction of the scene of crime as part of the investigation, near the culvert where the charred remains of the 25-year-old veterinarian were found on November 28.
The "encounter" also came under legal scrutiny.
The first post mortem was conducted on December 6, the day they were killed, in a state-run hospital in Mahabubnagar from where the bodies were subsequently shifted to Gandhi Hospital.
The Cyberabad police had said its personnel resorted to "retaliatory" firing after two of the accused opened fire at police after snatching their weapons besides attacking the latter with stones and sticks, resulting in injuries to two policemen.