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Odishatv Bureau

Hyderabad: The Special Investigation Team, set up by the Telangana government to probe the killing of four accused in the rape and murder of a veterinarian in "retaliatory" firing by police, on Monday got down to business, even as the state High Court directed authorities to preserve their bodies till December 13.

"SIT has taken up the investigation," a senior police official told PTI.

The SIT, headed by Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh M Bhagwat, should immediately take over the investigation into the case and all other related cases registered in the state as per Supreme Court guidelines, a Government Order issued on Sunday has said.

The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the SIT include investigating the cause and circumstances leading to the death of the four persons, and completing the investigation and submitting a report before a competent court of law, it said.

A division bench of the High Court, headed by Chief Justice R S Chauhan, ordered that the bodies can be shifted to the state-run Gandhi hospital at Hyderabad if the government hospital at Mahabubnagar does not have the facility to preserve them till December 13.

The bodies were kept at the government hospital at Mahabubnagar after autopsy following the alleged encounter on December 6.

The bodies would be shifted to the Gandhi hospital from Mahabubnagar, another senior police official told PTI.

When the plea came up, the Chief Justice wondered as to whether any FIR has been registered against police officers involved in the encounter.

The court was of the view that as per Supreme Court guidelines, an FIR is required to be framed against those involved in an encounter.

Advocate General B S Prasad informed the Court that two PILs were filed in the Supreme Court on the same issue and the apex court has posted the case for hearing on Wednesday.

In view of this, he sought an adjournment of the case beyond Wednesday.

Following this, the High Court adjourned the matter to December 12.

The court had on December 6 directed the state government to preserve the bodies till 8 PM on December 9.

The court issued the direction treating as a petition a representation received in the Office of the Chief Justice alleging that the 'encounter' was extra-judicial killing and requesting judicial intervention.

Meanwhile, a team of the National Human Rights Commission, which is probing the alleged encounter after the NHRC took cognisance of the incident, recorded the statement of two policemen who were injured in the alleged exchange of fire.

Fresh CCTV footage purportedly showing the lorry, allegedly used by the accused in the crime, surfaced on Monday which was telecast by news channels.

Police had earlier said the accused kidnapped the woman and killed her after sexually assaulting her, and then shifted the body in the lorry to Chattanpalli where it was burnt under a culvert on the night of November 27.

The four accused were arrested on November 29.

They were gunned down by police on Friday morning at Chattanpalli when they were taken to the scene of crime near the culvert, under which the charred remains of the 25-year-old veterinarian were found on November 28, to recover her phone, wrist-watch and others pertaining to the case.

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.


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