Rassana case: Another member of SIT is tainted, was suspended

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Apr 23:  Amidst growing demand for a CBI probe,   the chargesheet in  Rassana rape and murder case has been raising  many eyebrows owing to apparent lacunas in framing the evidences  and  alleged manipulation of  the sequence of events while   credentials of  the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the State Crime Branch into the incident  also continue to come under serious doubts  because of  the controversies surrounding the probe team members and their tainted career.
After Sub Inspector Irfan Wani, one of the SIT members, who was arrested in 2007 for the murder of a youth and alleged rape of a girl during her illegal custody, another Investigating Officer in the Rassana case has turned out to be an accused of destroying crucial evidences in a case during his tenure in the State Vigilance   Organization.
The said officer, DySP Nissar Hussain Shah,   was suspended and had been withdrawn from the investigation into the case FIR number 20/2005, under Prevention of Corruption Act, registered  with Police Station Vigilance Organization Jammu.
Action against the Police officer was taken after mysterious disappearance of some important record and   rubber stamps, which were seized during the house search of the accused  on August 7, 2005 and had been in the custody of Nissar Hussain Shah, then Inspector and Investigation Officer of the case.
The case FIR number 20/2005 Under Section 5(1) (e) read with Section 5(2) PC Act Svt 2006, was registered with Police Station Vigilance Organization, Jammu on December 6, 2005. The searches including that of the house of main accused  and other were conducted on December 7, 2005. The record/material seized during  the searches   remained with DySP Amanat Ali Shah till December 14, 2005.  On December 15, 2005, the seized record/rubber stamps etc were handed over to Nissar Hussain Shah, who told DySP Amanat Ali Shah on February 8, 2006 that  seized  record and rubber stamps  were missing.
As per the direction of  Central Vigilance Officer, it was obligatory on the part of  Investigating Officer concerned that he should have deposited the seized record with the Incharge Malkhana Vigilance Organization, Jammu but he failed to do so.
On submission of a  detailed report  to the Commissioner of  Vigilance, Nissar Hussain Shah was placed under suspension pending a formal departmental enquiry to look into the fact and circumstances  of the serious matter.
The said tainted DySP is now a member of the Crime Branch SIT, which has been investigating the Rassana case,
Pertinent to mention that another member of the SIT, SI Irfan Wani,  had been charged  with allegations of rape and murder in 2007, when he was Incharge of the Karara Police Post in Doda in 2007 though he was acquitted in 2011.
After  protests in Prem Nagar and Thathri area of Doda in April 2007 following  the custodial death of a youth namely Rishi Kumar, whose sister had leveled  rape allegations on the then Police Post Incharge Irfan Wani, a case of murder and rape was registered at that time.
It may be recalled that on January 23, the State Government had formed a five-member Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the Crime Branch to probe the rape and murder of  minor girl at village  Rassana in Kathua district.
Besides SSP Ramesh Kumar Jalla, who is heading the team, the SIT consists of  SP Naveed Peerzada, DySP Nissar Hussain, DySP Shetambri  Sharma, SI Irfan Wani and ASI Tariq Ahad.
Amidst allegations that Crime Branch officers from the Valley  were included  in the SIT, it is interesting to know that  Crime Branch Jammu is overstaff while it is  understaffed in Kashmir. There is one Additional SP Suram Singh (KPS) in Crime Branch Jammu but he was not taken in the SIT. Further, two professional Dy SPs, namely Ganjoo and Mohd Aslam, who are known for their investigation skills, were also not taken in the team while in Inspector rank, Zafar Amen of Thanamandi was also available for his services.
However, the officers having tainted career were made part of the SIT while Dy SP Shetambri Sharma,  a 2012 batch KPS officer, has also  virtually no experience of investigation, said a senior cop  on the condition of anonymity.
Besides a number of lacunas in the Rassana case chargesheet, being already discussed in the media, sources said that the Crime Branch is silent on the recovery and source of the money, which accused Sanjhi Ram had given  to the cops in  three installments. “If Sub Inspector Dutta and Head Constable Tilak Ram had taken the bribe, then why did Crime Branch fail to recover the same? Sanjhi Ram must have withdrawn the money or taken it from someone on loan but the Crime Branch is totally silent on this vital aspect,” sources added.
Further, sources claimed that  the statements recorded under Section 164 CrPC  have not bee enclosed with the charge sheet.