Gujarat encounter
victims were
innocent, relatives tell probe panel

AHMEDABAD — The Supreme Court-appointed Special Task Force (STF) probing the 17 encounters that took place in Gujarat between 2003 and 2006 has started its hearing at its office in Gandhinagar near here.

By Mahesh Trivedi

Published: Thu 21 Feb 2013, 8:45 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:32 PM

In the first-ever deposition, family members of those slain in eight of the 17 encounters gave their statements before STF head Justice (retd) H S Bedi and the entire in-camera hearing was videographed inside a room..

An Special Task Force officer told Khaleej Times that the relatives said that the encounter victims were innocent and fell prey to encounters because they either did not cater to the police’s demands or had become a problem because they knew about several illegal deals and extortion bids.

The families are believed to have told Justice Bedi that the encounter victims were used as informers by suspended police officer Abhay Chudasama and were then eliminated.

Those killed in these 16 encounters were allegedly gangsters or petty criminals who were operational in the early 2000s in Ahmedabad, Saurashtra and south Gujarat.

Before calling the families for recording their statements on Monday and Tuesday, Justice Bedi had earlier visited Gujarat to review some applications he had received for a hearing.

The Supreme Court had ordered the Narendra Modi government to form a monitoring panel and the STF on a petition filed by poet Javed Akhtar and senior journalist B G Verghese in 2007, requesting investigation of all the encounters in the state in which 22 people were killed between 2002 and 2006.

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