Following the killing of all the four accused in the gang-rape and murder case of a 26-year-old female veterinarian in Telangana, there has been a mixed response from the people and politicians on the functioning of the criminal justice system.
While people congratulated the Telangana Police for “serving justice”, the former top cop of Delhi Police, Maxwell Pereira told Outlook he was shocked by the incident and that the killings “throw up a lot of questions”.
“From whatever has appeared on the Television, I am shocked because there are a lot of questions that have been thrown up,” he said.
Pereira, who has served as at senior positions in Delhi police from 1985 until he retired in 2004, raised questions on the manner in which the incident unfolded.
“What were they doing at 3 am at the encounter site? Where were the accused being taken? All four of them being shot dead is shocking. It would warrant a right-away judicial inquiry,” Pereira said.
Pereira said there was something “more than meets the eye”.
The four accused were killed in crossfire in the wee hours of Friday between 3-6 am, said Cyberabad Police Commissioner V C Sajjanar.
Police said the firing took place when the accused tried to escape while being taken to the crime spot. According to the police, the accused fired upon the police team and in self-defence, they retaliated.
The four men, all lorry workers, aged between 20 and 24, were arrested on November 29 for allegedly raping and killing the woman by smothering her and later burning her body. They were remanded to 7 days' judicial custody.
Following the incident of rape and murder, there was outrage across the country, with some politicians calling for “lynching the accused in public”.
Following the Friday’s incident, Pereira said the “entire criminal justice system has gone to dogs”.
“The fact that a very efficient police force in the country is succumbing to the illegal demands of the public and politicians...if lynching is supported by a party, the rule of law is not prevalent,” he said.
Prakash Singh, the former Uttar Pradesh director general of police (DGP) said police should have taken proper precautions where reconstruct the crime scene.
“Precautions should have been taken while reconstructing the crime scene. The police version is that the accused tried to escape and attacked the police. That means the precautions were not taken,” Singh said.
But let’s give benefit of doubt to the Telangana Police that it was justified, he said.
On why the accused were shot dead and not injured by being shot below the belt, Singh said: “You cannot control the situation when they are running. It will be investigated,” Singh told Outlook.
After the killing of the four accused, the father of the woman veterinarian said he was “very happy” and thanked the police and Telangana government for it.
But has justice been served? Pereira said: “When the rule of law is compromised, justice can never be served.”
“I know the justice delivery system has collapsed,” the former top cop said, “ but that does not mean that you can take law into your own hands.”