5 policemen held responsible for ‘damaging’ police bus attack case
KARACHI: A police probe into the mishandling of last month’s Chakra Goth police bus attack case has found five officers responsible for damaging the case and recommended that they should be prosecuted under the anti-terrorism law for their criminal negligence, it emerged on Tuesday.
On Sept 7, the administrative judge of the Sindh High Court had ordered the city police chief to hold an inquiry against the SHO of the Zaman Town police station for lodging a fake FIR when a police official, who was the complainant in the Chakra Goth police bus attack case, appeared in court and submitted that he was forced to sign the FIR and other documents and he did this to save his job.
According to the inquiry report, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the mala fide exercise of five police officers over ‘motivated reasons’ had left the entire process ‘defective, poor and improper’ and caused the release of two suspects, Omair Atif and Abdul Hakeem.
“The former SHO of the Zaman Town police station, Inspector Shakir Ali, complainant [of the case] Sub-Inspector Muhammad Hanif Abbasi and IO (investigation officer) Suhail Ahmed are liable to be prosecuted under Section 27 of the ATA (anti-terrorism act),” said the report, which has been presented to the city police chief.
It said that the SHO concerned might be directed to register cases against the responsible policemen and submit the report before the administrative judge of the anti-terrorism courts.
“The present SHO of the Zaman Town police station, Inspector Saleemullah, and DSP Fakhar Islam have rendered themselves for criminal prosecution and a disciplinary action as they have not considered the gravity of the offence and failed in their desired supervisory control in accordance with law,” the report added.
It was also recommended in the report that the present SHO and the DSP be prosecuted under Section 27 of the ATA. The inquiry report went on to say that the criminal negligence became a cause of injustice which not only badly impaired the investigation but also ‘damaged the image and credibility of the police department’.
The police inquiry, headed by SSP Niaz Ahmed Khosa, also sought action against the five officers under the Effic-iency and Disciplinary Rules, 1988 for their role in different phases of the investigation.
Three policemen were killed and 27 others — all part of the IG Reserve Force — sustained bullet wounds when armed men attacked their bus in Korangi when they were heading towards the strife-hit Chakra Goth.
One of the attackers, later identified as Shahid alias Burger, was also killed in an exchange of gunfire. The police also claimed to have arrested a few wounded suspects from the crime-scene.
The report said that the FIR of the incident and the memos of arrest were recorded under the supervision of then Zaman Town SHO Inspector Shakir Ali.
“Whereas the FIR of this incident was got registered from not among the eyewitness or injured after a deliberate delay and consultation at the wish of the then SHO, and in the process some important admitted facts were knowingly and purposely inserted and suppressed/omitted with motivated reasons,” it said.
The report found it ‘quite intriguing’ that despite such heinous crime that killed policemen and challenged the writ of the law-enforcement agencies, the then Zaman Town SHO chose a ‘fake complainant’ to lodge an FIR. “He should have relied on the complaint of the one of the injured police personnel,” the report said.
The inquiry report cast serious doubts over the role of SI Abbasi who had authored the FIR and memos of the arrest but finally disowned them in court.
The inquiry team, which recorded statements of some 24 officials, from a police constable to the SSP rank officer, also cast serious doubts over the role of the investigation officer of the case i.e. Inspector Sohail Ahmed.
The report accused the IO of deliberately avoiding identification of the arrested suspects with the help of the wounded eyewitnesses and later submitting a police report under Section 169 of the criminal procedure code (release of accused when evidence deficient) without the approval of the competent authority.
“On the whole, the investigation officer has not conducted the investigation properly in accordance with the law resulting in serious defects and irregularities and moreover conducted the investigation with least interest without realising his legal responsibility and duty,” said the report, adding: “The IO has no convincing reply and reason for the lapses, irregularity and defects discussed supra. Likewise, the present SHO Inspector Saleemullah and DSP Faskhar Islam also failed to discharge their duties as supervisory officers and did not supervise the investigation of such a serious case.”