Rawalpora Custodial Killing – Locate accused Colonel: HC to IGP

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Srinagar, Apr 04: The High Court on Tuesday directed the Inspector General of police, Kashmir Range, to adopt all measures to collect information about the present place of posting of a Colonel who is allegedly involved in the custodial killing of a Rawalpora youth in 2002. Court of Justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir also asked the government to secure presence of Colonel Kishore Malhotra of 35RR who is accused of killing a Rawalpora youth Manzoor Ahmad Dar in custody and finalize the process of filing of the chargesheet before the competent court. In the process if need arises, the intervention of Director General of Police could be sought but the investigation should be completed without any further loss of time, the Court held. The High Court on February 23 had directed investigating officer probing disappearance of Rawalpora youth to complete the investigation and file chargesheet in the trial court within 15-days. Justice Hasnain Massodi had passed the direction on a petition filed by a widow seeking direction to the government for completing investigation into “custodial disappearance” of her husband Manzoor Ahmad Dar. The investigating officer (IO) had assured that he would produce the accused before the Court along with final report within the stipulated time. The police in its latest status report filed in the Court has stated that it obtained warrant of arrest against Colonel Malhotra from the Court of Judicial Magistrate Srinagar (City Munsif) and a sub inspector, Farooq Ahmad was entrusted with the job to execute it. The status report said the Sub Inspector went to Pune, Mahrashtra, on March 9, 2012 but Colonel Kishore was not found there, so the executing officer come back and apprised the investigating officer about the matter. It said, SSP Srinagar has subsequently addressed a letter to the General Commanding Officer (GOC) 15 Corps seeking knowledge about the present place of posting of Colonel Kishore Malhotra and the investigating officer is awaiting the information. Pertinently, Manzoor Ahmad Dar was running a medical shop at Rawalpora in outskirts of city when he was picked up from his home by unidentified gunmen during intervening night of January 18 and 19, 2002. Since then his whereabouts are not known. Following the custodial disappearance, the residents had lodged massive demonstrations forcing Police to file FIR under section 364 of RPC in Saddar police Station. Subsequently, during Police investigations, name of Colonel Kishore Malhotra cropped up as an accused. However, process of investigation lost momentum as the accused didn’t cooperate and has not been arrested so far. To evade his arrest, Kishore filed a petition in the Supreme Court pleading his innocence. He also accused Police of harassing him. The Apex Court, however, dismissed his petition. Prior to the latest order of the arrest of the accused, the High Court has passed several directions to the government to complete the investigation in the case. On August 9, 2011, the High Court had directed the IO to complete the probe and present the challan before the competent court. Senior Counsel Mian Abdul Qayoom represented petitioner in the case while as the State was represented by Deputy Advocate General N H Shah.

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