CBI takes over Shopian rape and murder case

     The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday took charge of the controversial Shopian rape and murder case from the Special Investigation Team (SIT). Last month, the Jammu and Kashmir Government had decided to hand over the case, involving two women, to the CBI. The 12-member team, headed by a Deputy Inspector General, is here to look into the case. On September 12, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had granted bail to four policemen who were accused of having a role in the case. The policemen -- Former Superintendent of Police of Shopian Javed Iqbal Mattoo, Deputy Superintendent of Police Rohit Baskota, Station House Officer Shopian Shafiq Ahmed and Sub-inspector Gazi Abdul Rehman -- were released on payment of a bond of Rs.50, 000 each. The four had been accused of destroying evidence related to the case. Granting of bail came almost a month after the same court rejected an earlier bail plea. The court had then rejected their plea under the Section 497 of the CRPC (discretionary powers of the judge to grant bail or not). The four had also moved a petition in the Supreme Court against the ruling of J and K High Court, to arrest these officers and also to collect blood samples to prepare the DNA mapping of these officers. An apex court bench headed by the Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan had asked the Shopian sessions court to expeditiously consider the bail pleas. During the hearing, the bench had said the High Court should have left it to the superior police officers to investigate the case and should have entitled the police officers to move for bail before the appropriate court. The bench had also expressed surprise that only because of agitation the investigation was handed over to the Special Investigation Team (SIT). The J and K High Court, hearing a Public Interest Litigation Petition (PIL) filed by J and K High Court Bar Association in connection with alleged rape and murder of Neelofar and Aasiya Jan in Shopian ordered for the arrest of four police officers who were suspended in the same the case.

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