Police await Centre’s nod to prosecute Brigadier in a 14 yr old case

Srinagar, November 26: A brigadier-level officer of the Army has been summoned by the Jammu and Kashmir Police with charges of abduction, murder and disappearance of evidence after being accused of involved in the custodial death of a chemist from the Rawalpora locality of Srinagar in 2002.

The police has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for investigation into the this 14-year-old case. The SIT has completed its investigation and filed a complete status report in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. Now, the department is awaiting the Central government nod for prosecution of accused Brigadier Kishore Malhotra.

According to reports in a local daily, Brigadier Malhotra was a Major in the 35 Rashtriya Rifles in 2002 when the incident happened. Between October 6 and 9 this year, the Brigadier was subjected to four days of sustained ‘custodial interrogation’.

A single bench of High Court, while hearing a petition in the case on Nov 23, directed the SIT to file  hearing a petition in the case by Tuesday along with a report that the charge sheet has been filed.

Pertinently, the case is about the arrest of a resident of Rawalpora locality on the outskirts of Srinagar, Manzoor Ahmad Dar on January 19, 2002. The wife of arrested person has maintained that an Army contingent led by Kishore Malhotra, then a Major with the 35 Rashtriya Rifles, had raided their house in the dead of the night in her testimonies before the courts .

Also, in a judicial inquiry by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Budgam, it was proved that Manzoor Ahmad was arrested by that Army contingent during the intervening night of 18/19 January 2002’.

The status report submitted by the SIT of JKP has maintained that the custodial disappearance has occurred at that night near about 14 years ago. The reports also said that the disappeared person could have died in custody of the 35 RR and hence, Section 302 of the RPC (murder) is invoked against the Army Officer. The report also claimed of already establishing an offence under Section 364 (abduction) is against the same accused.

The report added, “On the direction of the apex court and the High Court of J&K, accused Major Kishore Malhotra, now Brigadier, appeared before the SIT on October 6, 7, 8 and 9, 2015. During custodial questioning, the accused did not admit to the custody of the victim, nor lead to the recovery of the body (of Manzoor). Accordingly, offence under 201 of the RPC is invoked”

However, the accused Brigadier was not arrested during questioning because of the directions of the Supreme Court, states the report, but now the investigation stands closed and charges under Section 364 (abduction), 302 (murder) and 201 (disappearance of evidence) of the RPC invoked against him.

It added that the case file along with the records had been sent to the government for accord of sanction to prosecute the accused Brigadier.

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