The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Godhra gun backfires on cops

Hyderabad, May 26: Andhra Pradesh police are in the dock over the January arrests of five people they alleged had been trained by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and were responsible for 12 murders.

Director-general of police P. Ramulu said today he would prosecute investigating officials if the evidence collected against the alleged members of the Dasargah-e-Jihad-e-Shahadat (DJS) could not be substantiated.

At the time of the arrests in January, Ranga Reddy superintendent of police M.V. Ramachandra Raju had said the DJS members were out to avenge last year’s Godhra carnage.

Ramulu’s comments come at a time when CID investigations in the case have opened a Pandora’s box. Additional director-general of police M.. Kumawat has submitted a report detailing how officials have erred in bringing murder charges against those arrested. He said the CID could not find any evidence against them.

Ramulu has threatened action against the officials on the basis of the report. The DGP refused to comment on the report, saying CID investigations were continuing and more time was needed to complete the probe.

District police arrested Mohammed Jaffar Khan, Mohammed Imtiaz, Syed Mukhtar, Mohammed Akbar and Mohammed Khalid in January. They were charged with a series of murders on the outskirts of the city. But the family members of those arrested said the five were innocent and had been falsely implicated. They said police did not arrest the suspects they had identified.

Raju had said those arrested were members of the extremist DJS and had killed nine people in retaliation to the Godhra carnage. Police later added three more murder charges and 12 theft cases against them.

Ramulu said only one of the arrested was a DJS member and there was no evidence that the outfit was involved in the murders. Ramulu said the CID was making an impartial inquiry and only the real culprits would be booked. The DGP said those arrested had admitted to five other murders.

Ramulu said if it was proved that evidence had been wrongly gathered, action would be taken against the investigating officers and their immediate superiors. He said it was the responsibility of officers to collect correct evidence.

Asked if Raju would be in trouble for giving a communal slant to the case, Ramulu said: “If the CID investigation reveals facts which are antithetical to what Raju has stated, he will be asked to explain how he arrived at premature conclusions.”

Kumawat refused to comment on the investigations, saying it would hamper the case. Asked about his report that has put some police officials in the dock, he said: “It has already been reported in the press. I do not want to add to that.”

If the officials are proved guilty, it will be the second time that the state police have landed in trouble. Vijayawada commissioner of police Surender Babu and three others are in trouble over the death of a suspect in jail custody.

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