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The Supreme Court ordered a judicial inquiry into the alleged encounter of four rape accused by Hyderabad police in the gangrape and murder of 26-year-old veterinarian case. The court while staying the proceedings of the Telangana High Court and National Human Rights Commission in the matter, has ordered that the said judicial inquiry will be completed in six months.

The three-member inquiry panel will be headed by former Supreme Court judge VS Sirpurkar. The other two members are former Bombay High Court Justices Rekha Baldota and former Central Bureau of Investigation director DR Karthikeyan. The bench, headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde ordered a judicial inquiry after hearing two petitions seeking an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings.

The bench, which comprised Justices SA Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna, ordered that the three-member commission shall be provided security by the Central Reserved Force. The bench underlining the need of having an independent judicial inquiry said that there are “conflicting versions” about the incident which calls for an inquiry to uncover the true facts.

The bench further noted that the SIT formed the Telangana state can continue with its investigation into the cause of death of four persons accused in the rape and murder of the veterinarian. The bench also noted that it is obvious that even if the SIT conducts investigation and prosecution of the dead people, they can neither be tried or convicted.

Hence we are of the view that there should be an impartial inquiry into encounter deaths of the four accused and we do not know any other way how to go about the case where policemen are said to have encounter killing and an FIR has been lodged against the four persons for attempting to kill the police officials.

On Monday, the Telangana High Court had ordered the state government to preserve the bodies of the four men till December 13. The High Court ordered the transfer of the bodies to Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad in air-conditioned ambulances to prevent any decomposition.

All the four accused were gunned down by police on Friday morning at Chattanpalli when they were taken to the scene of where the charred remains of the woman veterinarian were found on November 28.

The Cyberabad Police had claimed that it resorted to “retaliatory” firing in self-defence after two of the accused opened fire at police after snatching their weapons besides attacking the latter with stones and sticks.

The four accused were arrested on November 29 for allegedly raping and killing the woman by smothering her and later burning the body.

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