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Army Capt staged fake Shopian encounter for cash award: Police charge sheet

SRINAGAR: The Army captain, involved in the alleged fake encounter at Amshipura in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian on July 18 last year in which three youths shot dead. He had apparently staged the fake Shopian encounter along with two civilians for a reward purse of Rs 20 lakh, a police charge sheet says.

He also fired at the victims even before his troops could lay a cordon of the area, the charge sheet adds.

Captain Bhoopinder Singh has been in Army custody, with sources saying he might face court martial.

Three youths of Rajouri district — Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrar — were killed and branded as militants. After the identities of the three were confirmed through a DNA test, the bodies were handed over to their families in Baramulla in October.

The charge sheet submitted before the Shopian chief judicial magistrate also details the role of the two civilians — Tabish Nazir and Bilal Ahmed Lone. The latter has since turned an approver and recorded his statement before a magistrate.

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After reports emerged on social media that the three youths were not associated with militancy, the Army had ordered a court of inquiry which completed its probe in September. It had found “prima facie” evidence that the troops had “exceeded” the powers granted under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Following this, the Army had initiated disciplinary proceedings.

The charge sheet submitted by a special investigation team of Jammu and Kashmir Police has listed 75 witnesses in support of its findings and has also provided technical evidence, including call data records of the accused persons.

The charge sheet also has the statements of four army personnel — Subedar Garu Ram, Lance Naik Ravi Kumar, Sepoys Ashwini Kumar and Yougesh — who were part of Capt Singh’s team at the time of the reported encounter.

They said that all of them along with the two civilians had left the Army camp together as there were reliable inputs that a contact with terrorists was possible, according to the charge sheet.

On reaching the spot, all the four were asked to cordon off from different directions.

“…as they were approaching the spot on foot after disembarking from the vehicle they heard a few bursts of live ammunition even before they had laid the cordon,” said the charge sheet, quoting the statements of the four.

Later Capt. Singh told them that he had to fire as the militants were trying to escape.

“By staging the encounter,” the charge sheet said, Capt. Singh and two other civilians also “purposefully destroyed evidence of real crime that they have committed and also have been purposefully projecting false information as part of a criminal conspiracy hatched between them with motive to grab prize money of Rs 20 lakh”.

It said the accused captain of 62 Rashtriya Rifles “furnished false information to mislead the senior officer and for getting” an FIR lodged to “tailor fit his motive for grabbing prize money in furtherance of criminal conspiracy”.

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