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The Cyberabad Commissionerate’s Inspector of Police Shaikh Lal Madhar, who opened fire at the accused of Disha gangrape and murder with his AK-47 on December 6, 2019, told the Supreme Court-appointed commission of inquiry that he was not aware of the reasons why the commission was appointed by the apex court.

“I do not know,” he said when the commission member and former director of CBI D.R. Karthikeyan asked him whether he knew why the commission was constituted.

Mr. Madhar, the then sub-inspector with the Special Operations Team, was questioned at length for the second consecutive day on Thursday why he chose AK-47, when and how he opened fire, did he aim the ‘targets’, how many rounds were fired from his AK-17 and what was the formation of team when they reached Chatanpally with the accused persons for recovery of Disha’s articles.

The officer told the panel that on December 4, 2019 when he reached Bell of Arms, AK-47 was the only weapon left there as five others who reached before him took other firearms. “After getting instructions from then Shadnagar ACP Vasam Surender, as the accused snatched our weapons and opened fire on us, I kept the selector switch in single position and opened fire in the air. Upon receiving further orders from the officer, I fired towards the direction of sound by taking cover of 2.5-foot bund,” he said, adding that 18 rounds were fired from his AK-47.

When your height is 6.2 feet and when in a squatted position, how did you manage to take cover from 2.5-foot bund? the panel questioned. “I felt it was safe for me as it was big,” the officer said.

How is that all the shots were above the waist of the accused? “I do not know,” he said.

When questioned about his statement to the National Human Rights Commission, like the previous witnesses, Mr. Madhar too maintained that his statement was wrongly recorded and ‘under pressure and threat’ from the NHRC officials he had signed on the statement. The panel was shocked to know that the officer doesn’t understand Hindi. “I don’t know Hindi. I come from a place which is on the border of Andhra Pradesh and ours is the only Muslim family there,” he said.

When asked how come his mobile phone tower locations on the day of incident were at various places, Mr. Madhar told the panel that after the firing, around 8.30 a.m, Shadnagar inspector took away their mobile phones and returned only in the evening.

Earlier, Mr. Karthikeyan posed a string of questions to the officer, including apprehending four of the accused in a record time, the public applause for the police action, doesn’t he think that after arrest if the accused have been brought before the court for a final verdict, that would have really brought glory to the police investigation confirming their charges.

“I do not know,” was his standard reply to all the questions.

Later in the day, Head Constable Mohammed Sirajuddin, who too opened fire on December 6, 2019, was questioned by the SC-appointed panel for an hour. He was asked whether he can differentiate between soil and dust.

While the panel’s advocate was seen stressing on the term ‘self-defence’, both the officers maintained that they opened fire on the instructions of ACP Surender to protect the police party and panchas from the indiscriminate firing from the accused.

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