Police send reminder for custody of Col, Major in Machil case

Sources in the state home department said a letter was sent Saturday to the local Army headquarter for handing over Colonel D K Pathania, Major Upinder and four others for their detailed custodial interrogation.

They claimed that the Army had been asked to hand over the custody expeditiously as there was enough evidence to suggest their involvement in the killing of Muhammad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed. They were gunned down on the night of April 29.

The Colonel was relieved of the command and the Major was suspended ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the Valley on June seven. The sources said if the Army does not hand over the officials, the police would file the charge sheet naming the Colonel, the Major and four personnel of other ranks besides three civilians including a territorial army jawan Abbas Shah.

The state government claims that the army personnel had acted with criminal intent. However, army officials were trying to invoke Armed Forces Special Powers Act under which its personnel are not handed over to civilian administration. Police have recorded statements of various people including the driver of the vehicle in which the three youths were taken from their native village of Nadihal in Baramulla district and were allegedly gunned down.

The state police has arrested three persons Abbas Shah -- the territorial army jawan, Basharat Lone and Abdul Hamid Bhat for allegedly luring the three youths to the border and staging a fake encounter in Machil sector of north Kashmir.

The state government had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the case and also took up the matter with the Defence Ministry. The government had ordered exhumation of bodies and a post-mortem was conducted. The police had registered a missing report on April 27 in this regard which was later converted into a kidnapping case.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had asked Commander of 15 Corps Lt Gen N C Marwah to cooperate in the probe being carried out by the police.

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