Six Anti-Car Lifting Cell (ACLC) officials detained for their suspected involvement in the fatal shooting of a teenager in Karachi's Defence Housing Authority (DHA) on Saturday night recorded their statements before police on Monday morning, police sources told DawnNews, and were remanded into police custody for seven days by a court.
Two inspectors, two head constables, and two officers were among those taken into custody after 19-year-old Malaysia-returned student Intizar Ahmed was shot dead in his vehicle on Khayaban-i-Ittehad.
The investigators, after studying closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) footage and examining forensic evidence, found “serious violation of standard operating procedure (SOPs) and a lack of professionalism” on part of three of the ACLC policemen, according to DIG South-Zone Azad Khan.
The investigators also recorded the informal statement of a female eyewitness who was reportedly traveling with the victim, the DIG added.
Addressing a press conference, Azad assured that the concerns of the parents will be addressed, with no leniency to be shown to the culprits.
“Two to three ACLC personnel among nine fired on the car of the victim but the liability of each policeman would be determined in the case,” vowed the officer.
Apart from initiating a criminal investigation, a departmental inquiry has also been initiated against the ACLC personnel.
DIG South defended the ACLC officials' deployment in the area while wearing civvies, saying: "Deployment of policemen in plain clothes was not an unusual thing as such practice was common after recent knife attacks on women in Gulistan-i-Jauhar."
The DIG noted that the victim was travelling in a particular model that has a high tendency of being carjacked — something which may have piqued the ACLC officials' suspicion.
However, he admitted that the presence of the girl in the car meant the officials should've demonstrated due care and not resorted to indiscriminate firing.
The detained officials, who have been suspended, were identified as Inspector Tariq Mehmood (ACLC police station SHO), Inspector Azhar Ahsan Rizvi, Head Constables Ghulam Abbas and Shahid, and Constable Ghulam Abbas and Constable Fawad Khan.
A senior police officer earlier told Dawn that there were nine armed ACLC policemen in plainclothes involved in the incident, of whom three have gone into hiding. They were travelling on two motorcycles and a car, all private vehicles, he said.
The ACLC officials tried to stop the teenager's car but he did not stop it, thinking they were robbers, the police official said. They chased his car and opened fire at it, resulting in the death of the teenager, who sustained multiple bullet wounds, including one to the head, he added.
According to police officials close to the investigation, the suspects in their statements today said that the ACLC had set up a picket in the Khayaban-i-Bukhari area for snap checking after receiving reports about the snatching of government-owned vehicles in the DHA area linked to suspects in a white Toyota Corolla.
ACLC personnel in plainclothes wearing bulletproof vests were checking vehicles under the leadership of Inspectors Tariq and Azhar, the sources said, citing the statements.
The personnel asked Intizar to stop, but he didn't comply, after which they followed his vehicle and fired at its tires with their privately-owned weapons, according to the officials' statements.
Three licenced 9mm pistols were recovered from the possession of the detained ACLC officials. The weapons, along with the 16 bullet casings recovered from the site of the shooting, were sent for forensic testing, the officials said.
Remanded into police custody
A district and sessions court handed the suspects over to police on seven-day physical remand.
The ACLC officials, who had been detained in the City Court lockup, were presented before the court today as the public prosecutor requested a 14-day physical remand so that the investigation into the shooting could be conducted in a transparent manner.
The judge subsequently remanded the suspects over to police custody for seven days.