High court defers Shopian murder case hearing

SRINAGAR - The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Wednesday deferred the hearing of the Shopian rape and murder case for a week following objections by the bar association to the state government’s request to have it investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The division bench of the state high court comprising Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir heard the public interest litigation filed before it by the local bar association.

The state government Wednesday filed an application before the division bench stating it was ready to have the case investigated by the CBI, subject to approval by the high court.

While the court observed it was the prerogative of the government to hand over the investigations to any agency it deemed fit to bring the guilty to justice in this case, Main Qayoom, the president of the bar association told the court the bar had serious reservations regarding the transferring of the investigations of this case to the CBI.

The high court asked the bar association to file objections to the state’s application for transfer of the case investigations to CBI and deferred the hearing to next Wednesday.

The court also asked the Shopian Mashawarat Committee, formed in the wake of protests after the incident, to give its observations to the court regarding the government’s request to transfer the investigations to the CBI.

The court opined that if the committee wanted, it could file its observations in a sealed cover to the court.

The state government had last week told the state assembly, which is in session here, it was ready to transfer the investigations of the case to the CBI provided the state high court agreed to the government’s request.

The rape and murder of two local women, Nilofar Jan, 22, and her sister-in-law Asiya Jan, 17, in Shopian town on May 30 caused outrage across the valley.

The state government had suspended and arrested four police officers, including the then district police chief, a deputy superintendent of police, an inspector and an assistant sub-inspector, on charges of destroying crucial evidence in the case.

The central forensic laboratory (CFL) in New Delhi had observed that the vaginal swabs of the two victims had been fudged as they did not match the visceral and other samples sent to the CFL for DNA mapping.

The district and sessions judge in Shopian had turned down the bail applications of the four accused policemen, maintaining as the investigations in the case were at a crucial stage, the accused could interfere with the investigations if released at this stage.


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