Tou ghening its stand against extrajudicial killings by trigger-happy cops, the AP High Court on Friday delivered a verdict with a directive to book murder case against five police personnel, including a sub-inspector, involved in the encounter killing of a dacoit in 2010.
The court directed Nuzvid DSP K Sambaiah to register criminal cases under Section 302 of IPC against then Penamalur SI G V Vinaya Mohan, now working in I town police station in Vijayawada, and four constables.
Justice N V Ramana, who gave the ruling, however, refused the plea of the complainant to hand over the probe to CBI or CID. The court ruling comes close on the heels of the Supreme Court directive on Monday which recommended that cops responsible for fake encounters should be hanged.
An advocate Tanikonda Chiranjeevi, who filed the writ petition on the cold-blooded killing of Venkanna, contended that the cops detained the victim, Adapa Venkanna, a week before his actual killing and bumped him off in the guise of an encounter.
He urged the court to grant ex gratia to Mahalakshmi, wife of the deceased and hand over the investigation to the CBI or CID. Mahalakshmi had also alleged that the police killed her husband in a fake encounter. The constables on whom the murder charges were sought to be framed are A Vanamala Rao, B Vijayakumar, K Karuna Kumar and M Ramasimha of Penamularu police station.
Venkanna, alleged to be a notorious dacoit, was shot dead by cops near Pedapulipaka village in Penamalur on the outskirts of Vijayawada on October 5, 2010, when PSR Anjaneyulu was heading the city police. Then deputy commissioner of police M Ravindranath Babu claimed that a night patrolling police party headed by Vinaya Mohan spotted an unidentified person loitering near a temple in the village and asked him to surrender. Instead, the person tried to escape by firing at the police team. In self-defence, the cops fired at the offender, who was identified as Adapa Venkanna.
After the encounter, the police `recovered’ an 8 mm revolver, two cellphones and liquor bottles from the spot. Curiously, police booked cases against Venkanna under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 353 of IPC (assault on police) after the encounter. Incidentally, Venkanna was released a week before his killing from Cherlapalli jail in Hyderabad. More than 102 looting cases were pending against him.
The 40-year-old Venkanna had long been considered a golden goose for police officials in coastal districts as they used to take share of the booty from house-breaking incidents committed by the dacoit. He was arrested more than a dozen times and huge sums and jewellery were recovered every time he was picked up.
Meanwhile, advocate Chiranjeevi said he would file a separate writ petition in the court seeking filing of a case under Section 302 of IPC against Anjaneyulu also. “It was PSR Anjaneyulu, who ordered the field level cops to kill Venkanna in a fake encounter. How could the ground staff alone be held guilty,” Chiranjeevi asked.
Incidentally, this is not the first time that the Vijayawada police are facing such charges of fake encounters. The cops were in a tight corner in the encounter killing of rowdy-sheeter Budda Shanthan when a local court ordered the arrest of then city commissioner N V Surendrababu and four other cops. Surendrababu, however, got a reprieve from the HC. TOI