KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has dismissed the plea of Shahrukh Jatoi, the main suspect in the Shahzeb Khan murder case, who sought re-investigation of the murder case through a joint investigation team comprising officials from the police and security agencies.
Shahrukh, his friends Nawab Siraj Talpur, Nawab Sajjad Talpur and their servant, Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, have been charged with murdering Shazeb Khan, 20-year-old son of a police officer, over a petty dispute in the Defence Housing Authority on December 25, 2012.
All the suspects are facing murder trial before a special Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC).
On Tuesday, Shahrukh went to the court against the secretary establishment, interior ministry, Sindh’s chief secretary, home secretary and Inspector General Police.
Lawyer Shafquat Shah Masoomi told the judges that the officer, Inspector Mobeen, who investigated the murder case, was impartial and biased against his client, Shahrukh Jatoi.
“The petitioner, who is a student of the Anglican Church Grammar School based in Australia, has been victimised by the biased, corrupt, partial and dishonest investigation officer, who had demanded millions of rupees,” the lawyer alleged.
According to Masoomi, the IO had spoilt the evidence of the case, while he also misused and abused his official authority by demanding bribe.
He pleaded to the court to order federal and provincial interior secretaries and Sindh police chief to constitute a joint investigation team - comprising officials from the Federal Investigation Agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence and police - to re-investigate the case.
Until the investigation team releases its report, the murder trial proceedings before the ATC should also be stayed, the lawyer urged. Finding the request unjustified and unreasonable, the bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar dismissed the plea.
The same bench adjourned the hearing of a plea seeking re-determination of Shahrukh Jatoi’s age till May 16.
Shahrukh has claimed entitlement to legal concessions prescribed for the suspects under the age of 18 years.
Opposing the plea, the lawyer representing victim Shahzeb Khan’s family, Faisal Siddiqui, argued that the suspect had raised objections only to effect the proceedings.
Adjourning hearing till May 16, the court directed Faisal Siddiqui to advance legal arguments on the next date.
Defence lawyers of Shahrukh Jatoi present final arguments
The Anti-Terrorism Court III heard the final arguments from one of the defence lawyers representing Shahrukh Jatoi, Shaukat Zubaidi, in the Shahzeb murder case on Tuesday. The defence will continue its argument at the next hearing.
Zubaidi told the court that there were contradictions in the statements of the witnesses recorded under section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before the police and statements under section 164 of the CrPC before the magistrate concerned. Zubaidi alleged that the statements were recorded with malafide intentions, adding that the whole story was made-up against the suspects by the complainant.
For comparison, the counsel presented the witnesses’ statements that were recorded before the police and the magistrate in the court to make his point. He alleged that the witnesses had exaggerated the killing incident in their statements before the magistrate.
Following the arguments, the counsel requested the court to adjourn the matter till next hearing. The judge, Ghulam Mustafa Memon, is holding the trial following the apex court’s ruling to conclude the trial as soon as possible while taking into account all the legal aspects of the case. The arguments will now continue until the defence counsel and the lawyers for the state conclude the matter after which the court will announce its verdict.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2013.