Army closes Pathribal encounter case

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Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu, Jan 24: Nearly 14 years after the Patribhal fake encounter case rocked Jammu and Kashmir, Army has closed the case saying the evidence recorded could not establish prime facie charges against any of the accused persons.

Army authorities have conveyed this decision to the Court of the Judicial Magistrate in Srinagar.

"The evidence recorded could not establish a prime facie case against any of the accused persons," a defence spokesman said in Jammu.

However, it was "clearly established that it (the Pathribal encounter) was a joint operation by police and the Army based on specific intelligence," the spokesman said.

"The case has been closed by Army authorities and  intimation given to the Court of the Judicial Magistrate in Srinagar," the spokesman said yesterday. CBI had in 2006 indicted five army personnel for staging the encounter, while giving a clean chit to state police.

After it was handed over the case in January, 2003, CBI alleged that officials and jawans of the Seven Rashtriya Rifles —Brig Ajay Saxena, Lt Col Brahendra Pratap Singh, Maj Saurabh Sharma, Maj Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan — had staged a fake encounter and killed five innocent civilians whom they said were terrorists involved in an attack on Sikhs at Chittisinghpora in south Kashmir.

Five persons were killed on March 26, 2000 at Pathribal in South Kashmir. 

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today expressed his extreme disappointment over Army's decision to close the Pathribhal fake encounter case and said the state law authorities will be asked to examine options to address this "serious" matter. Omar said a matter as serious as Pathribal can't be closed or wished away.


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