HYDERABAD, Telangana: In a press conference held nine hours after encounter of the four accused in the Hyderabad rape and murder case, V.C. Sajjanar, police commissioner of Cyberabad, said the men were killed in crossfire because they “attacked policemen”.
The four men, accompanied by ten policemen, had been taken to the spot in Chattanpally village, Mahbubnagar district, where the 27-year-old veterinarian’s charred body was found.
Of the four accused men, two were lorry drivers while the other two had worked as cleaners in lorries which plied on the Hyderabad-Bangalore route.
During interrogation, the accused had “confessed that they hid her cell phone and power bank” at the spot, the commissioner said.
Sajjanar said that the four men “attacked policemen” with stones and sticks at the site. Two of the accused, Md Areef and Chennakeshawalu, also grabbed weapons from the police and tried to fire shots, he told the press. The other two —Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen— pelted the officers with sticks and stones.
The police commissioner said that the four men died in “crossfire” and that they had recovered two weapons from two of the accused.
Two policemen — SI Venkateswarlu and constable Arvind Goud — were also injured in the attack, Sajjanar said.
The commissioner was asked how the accused were able to unlock the police weapons for use. Sajjanar said they were “already unlocked”.
When asked if the four men had been handcuffed, Sajjanar said they were not.
The police commissioner claimed the accused men “could have been involved in other crimes against women in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka”.
The investigation will now extend to the involvement of the accused in cases of “burnt bodies of women found in other places”.
Sajjanar also gave the media a timeline of the case. A magistrate court had given police custody of the accused for “evidence collection” and “questioning” on December 4, he said. The police had gathered scientific evidence including DNA profiles of the accused since November 28, the day the vet’s body was found under a culvert on the Hyderabad-Bangalore highway. On December 4 and 5 the police interrogated the accused and stationed them at Cherlappali central prison. On December 6, they were taken to the spot where the woman’s body was found.
When asked by reporters why the police allegedly took law into their hands before the trial commenced, Sajjanar said, “Law had done its duty. That’s all I can say”.
The National Human Rights Commission said it had taken cognisance of the encounter and ordered an inquiry by its investigation team.