September 9, 2009
‘More encounters in Guj than in Naxal-hit states’
Retd DGP RB Sreekumar says the killings in the state were staged
Throwing open the floodgates of angst and frustration, retired director general of police RB Sreekumar spoke his mind on the fake encounters issue. Highlighting that Gujarat has witnessed more encounters in five years than the Naxal-infested 120 districts of the country or the terrorist-hit northern states, the veteran cop emphatically stated that the government had no locus standi to appeal or disregard the findings of Justice SP Tamang in the Ishrat Jahan encounter. “Questioning Justice Tamang’s report is contempt of court and questioning the freedom of the judicial system,” he said.
Sreekumar further said, “Jaynarayan Vyas’ comment that the judge has shown his unnecessary interest is insubordination, highly objectionable and contempt of court. Even the chief minister or the governor have no powers to comment on judicial magistrate’s inquiry process, only the sessions judge and the high court can comment on it, he said. “The government is not the party in this case; Magistrate Tamang has not given any opinion against the government, then why is the government saying suo moto that it does not agree with the report,” he asked, adding why they (govt) should, when they are not party in the case.
Sreekumar was additional DGP (Intelligence) from April 9, 2002 to Sept 18, 2002. Talking about motive of such encounters he said, “What was the motive of the encounters? Had Gujarat police followed the procedures according the regulation, after the encounters? Encounters started on September 24, 2002, after my transfer as addl DGP and completed in April 2007, when Vanzara and other officers were arrested. Some one should try to trace the Gangotri (the root) of all these incidents. Gujarat government, through Gujarat police, had adopted the encounters as a part of a policy and a political strategy.” Referring to a semi-official diary, which he prepared in 2002, the retired cop said, “I have an entry of May 2002 in my diary that Subbarao, who was the then chief secretary, had also been given six months extension and six years of special appointment in state government. He had asked me to kill people in encounters and I had told him that if I even agree with him, I will be convicted under IPC 120 (B) for conspiracy for murder and I denied.”
Sreekumar also alleged that the Gujarat police had not followed the procedures mentioned in rule 217 of Gujarat Police Manual Volume-3, which says what the police are supposed to do after the encounters. If there is case of death in police custody, immediate inquiry should be done by the District Magistrate. But in any of the encounter cases, these procedures have not been followed.”