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KARACHI: The investigating officer has asked the Sindh High Court to cancel the bail granted to former SSP of Malir Rao Anwar and his subordinates, who are key suspects in the case pertaining to the killing of an aspiring Waziristan model, Naqeebullah Mehsud, fearing that they were very influential and could force the witnesses to “deviate” from their statements or make them “disappear” to damage the prosecution’s case.

This request and disclosure has been made in a report submitted by investigating officer of the cases SSP Dr Rizwan Ahmed Khan before a two-judge bench, which was on Friday hearing an application filed by Mehsud’s father, Mohammad Khan, seeking cancellation of the bail granted to Rao Anwar by an antiterrorism court.

Take a look: Dawn Investigations: Rao Anwar and the killing fields of Karachi

SSP Khan is currently investigating the cases registered against the then SSP with his around 25 detained and absconding subordinates pertaining to the alleged kidnapping for ransom and killing of Mehsud and three others in an alleged fake encounter by dubbing them “Taliban” militants in Shah Latif Town on Jan 30, 2018 and later foisting fake recoveries on the victims.

Five policemen had removed the circumstantial evidence from the crime scene during investigation

In his three-page report, the IO submitted that former SSP Rao Anwar, DSP Qamar Ahmed Shaikh, sub-inspector Mohammad Yasin, assistant sub-inspector Supurd Hussain and head constable Khizar Hayat had obtained bail from courts where they were regularly attending the proceedings.

Removal of circumstantial evidence

The report disclosed that the five policemen had removed the circumstantial evidence from the crime scene during the course of investigation due to which the prosecution had to take help of modern digital technology to prove its case against the suspects.

It said that ex-SI Mohammad Anar Khan’s presence at the crime scene was recorded from 01.55am to 03.34am while the presence of ex-ASI Khair Mohammad was recorded from 02.15am.

It claimed that constable Shakil Feroze, who is in prison and proved to be instrumental during the investigation, was a close aide of absconding suspect Amanullah Marwat, the then SHO of Shah Latif Town.

It further said that Feroze had contacted former ASI Gadda Hussain around 18 times from a day before the incident took place on Jan 13 till Jan 18 after the incident. He also changed his mobile SIM cards several times during that period.

“Therefore, the key role of the suspects from planning of the fake encounter to its execution has been proven with the help of digital evidence,” the IO declared in the report.

The IO said that the suspects, who have already obtained bail, or the absconders, who are trying to get the same, were very “clever, well-connected and powerful”. Therefore, there was a great likelihood that they would either force the eyewitnesses to “deviate” from their earlier statements or make them “disappear” in case of confirmation of their bail.

Deviation from initial statement

Citing one such example, the IO alleged that the suspects by using their influence had made eyewitness Shahzad Jahangir to deviate from his initial statement before the case was fixed for regular hearing in the trial court. “Furthermore, eyewitness Jahangir has also been made to disappear,” it added.

The IO apprehended that if the bail of the key suspect and others was confirmed, it might damage the case of the prosecution, as the suspects could “force or threaten the witnesses to change their statements”.

He maintained that the prosecution had enough digital and forensic evidence available with it that could lead to the conviction of the suspects and, therefore, pleaded to the court to cancel the interim bail granted to key suspect Rao Anwar and others in the present cases so that the same could be taken to their logical end and the requirements of the law and justice could be fulfilled.

The report also mentioned that six other suspects — former ASI Mohammad Anar Khan, ASI Khair Mohammad, ASI Akbar Mallah, HC Faisal Mehmood and PC Raees Abbas — who had gone into hiding after the registration of the FIR of the incident and submission of the charge sheet, had finally appeared before the trial court and obtained pre-arrest interim bail. However, the ATC-III judge cancelled their interim bail and sent them to prison on Jan 16, it added.

The IO mentioned in the report that six suspended policemen — former SI Amanullah Marwat, SI Mohammad Shoaib, alias Shoaib Shooter, ASI Gadda Hussain, HC Mohsin Abbas, HD Sadaqat Hussain, PC Raja Shamim Mukhtar and PC Rana Riaz, were absconding in the case.

In compliance of the trial court’s order dated Jan 30, the process of proclamation and attachment of properties of the absconders had been initiated, he added. Moreover, former ASI Allahyar Kaka, HC Mohammad Iqbal, PC Arshad Ali, PC Ghulam Nazik, PC Abdul Ali, PC Shafiq Ahmed and PC Shakil Feroze had been arrested and were in prison.

Headed by Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar, the bench asked the counsel for the applicant as well as the respondents to submit their replies in response to the IO’s report on the next date and fixed the matter for Feb 28.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019