An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan accused the investigation officer (IO) in the murder case of 22-year-old Osama Satti of colluding with the suspects while presiding over the case on Wednesday.
The ATC granted a week-long physical remand to the five police officers arrested, Mudassar Iqbal, Shakeel Ahmed, Muhammad Mustafa, Saeed Ahmed and Iftikhar Ahmed, while a 12-day remand was sought.
The IO Muhammad Azam informed the court that the arms used by the suspects have been seized while a joint investigation committee (JIT) has recorded the testimonies of the five accused. However, the court was agitated over the lack of progress made in the case.
"Where is the picture of the seat on which the bullet hit him?" the judge inquired. The officer responded to the question by saying he did not have that photograph.
"You have brought the picture that shows he was shot at from behind, but not the one that shows he was shot at from the front," the judge stated. It seems that you are all working together, the judge added.
The court also inquired about the number of shots fired during the incident by asking the IO to read the medical report. He responded that five shots were fired at the vehicle from the rear upon which the victim’s counsel accused the IO of tempering with the evidence. They added that photographic evidence of the criminal act is also on record.
The court asked IO to produce photos in which the bullets would have penetrated through the passenger seat if they were fired from the backside and hit the victim. The counsel also informed that there were no traces of blood in the car and questioned the impartiality of the IO.
“Did the bullet enter through the roof and go inside the seat?” the judge inquired, further questioning if the officers were shot at by the deceased to which the IO said no.
The victim’s counsel pleaded the court to grant at least a week’s remand so that the police’s investigation could be examined properly.
Furthermore, the judge told the suspects to describe the incident. The court was informed that the officers received information that four robbers drove off in a white car after looting a house and were told to rush to Srinagar Highway.
They stated that a white vehicle was spotted at the highway and they signaled for it to stop but the vehicle continued to drive away, turning towards the Peshawar crossing.
The judge inquired the type of vehicle the officers were in to which they said that they were driving a mobile pick-up. The judge then asked about the type of vehicle been driven by the victim and the officers said that he was in a Suzuki Alto.
At this the judge angrily questioned if an Alto could not be overtaken by the police car.
“Was he operating a rocket launcher?” the judge remarked. “What was the purpose of the shooting? Every time a car does not stop will you start shooting?” he added.
“How big of a terrorist was the boy to have been shot and killed in such a manner,” the Judge said, stating that there were thousands of proclaimed offenders roaming in the city who have never met this fate.
He further commented that he himself is a 50-year-old and if for some reason he could not stop his car, would the police start shooting at him as well? The judge remarked that the officers should be ashamed of themselves.
The court directed the IO to include the wireless officer who sent the information to the police officers into the investigation so that a holistic picture could be established. The court also instructed the IO to submit a progress report in the next hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2021.
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