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Chargesheet against 5 Armymen

Written by: Staff
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Srinagar, May 11: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today filed a 28-page chargesheet in a special court here against five Army officials, including a Brigadier, for allegedly killing five innocent civilians in a fake encounter at Pathribal in Anantnag district of south Kashmir on March 25, 2000.

The chargesheet was filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar, against Brigadier Ajay Saxena, Lt Col (then Major) Bijendra Pratap Singh, Major Sourabh Sharma, Major Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan of the Rashtriya Rifles.

The hearing of the case has been fixed on May 24.

A CBI inspector, who is the investigating officer in the case, filed the chargesheet on behalf of the agency.

The Army officials had allegedly killed five civilians in a fake encounter and later dubbed them as foreign militants responsible for killing 36 Sikhs at Chattisinghpora village in Anantnag district on March 20, 2000.

According to the investigation, which was recently completed, the Army carried out ''Operation Swift'' in the forest area of Pathribal and allegedly killed five innocent civilians in a fake encounter.

The CBI said the Army was under tremendous pressure for the killing of 36 Sikhs at Chattisinghpora at a time when the then US President Bill Clinton had visited India. The Army was blamed for the killings saying it was a major intelligence failure. The investigation of the case was handed over to the CBI in January 2003 by the Jammu and Kashmir government after the relatives of the slain people complained that they were innocent.

The accused had told the CBI that the information about the ''militants'' was provided to them by the Superintendent of Police, Anantnag, on March 25, 2000, a charge strongly denied by the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

After killing the innocent civilians, the Army had handed over the bodies to the Achchabal police station with a mention that three were ''Pakistani militants'' and two unidentified.

The accused had also shown fake recovery of arms and ammunition from them in the encounter to prove that they were ''militants''.

UNI

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