Hyderabad/Chennai, Apr 10: As doubts cropped up over the gunning down of 20 woodcutters from Tamil Nadu, the Andhra Pradesh Police today faced tough questions from the Hyderabad High Court as to why a case of murder was not filed in the killings.
In a related development, the Madras High Court refused to order a second postmortem on the bodies of six victims from Thiruvannamalai district which have been asked to be preserved till April 17.
Political sparring continued on either side of the border with parties in Tamil Nadu demanding an inquiry and holding protests while Andhra Pradesh maintained that the state police operation was one of "smugglers versus law" and asked parties not to act under political compulsions.
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) General Secretary C Chandrasekhar, in a writ petition filed in the Hyderabad High Court earlier, had alleged that it was a case of "murder" and the victims were poor labourers from Tamil Nadu.
"It was a cold-blooded murder of 20 poor labourers from Tamil Nadu," alleged the petitioner who sought directions for registration of an FIR under IPC Section 302 (murder) against the policemen involved in the operation besides seeking a CBI probe.
The petitioner's counsel V Raghunath said the High Court, after going through the two FIRs, felt unhappy and sought to know from the government whether or not a case of unnatural death was registered and asked how could police file a case against the dead persons.
The Court asked who is the Investigating Officer. When it was informed that the local police are investigating, the court said it is a serious issue as two states (AP and Tamil Nadu) are involved. "How could local police conduct investigation?" the court asked, according to Raghunath.
Additional Advocate General (AAG) D Srinivas said the court sought to know if AP police registered a case of unnatural death in the case.
He submitted before the court that a magisterial inquiry is underway into the April 7 operation as per guidelines of the Supreme Court.