On December 6, 2019, in the aftermath of the death of four accused in the rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad, media across the country splashed the face of V.C. Sajjanar, the then commissioner of police, Cyberabad, across broadcasts. Citizens watched his press conferences with a mixed sense of anxiety and amazement. He detailed the graphic sequences of the crime against the veterinarian and chilling ‘efficiency of his boys’. Accolades poured in for him, for the ‘instant justice’ he meted out to the accused. Sajjanar gracefully accepted all of it.
Exactly two years after those deaths, the facts in the case, which were initially covered up due to public frenzy, slowly began to come into light. As the inquiry commission dismantled the tenacious official narrative engraved into popular perception, one lie after other came out.
It posed 160 questions to Sajjanar on October 11-12 and recorded ‘chilling lies’, which had so far been described as ‘errors’.
No register of arms and ammunition maintained?
The commission began its examination by questioning Sajjanar about the constitution and supervision of the special operations teams (SOT) that killed the four accused. The government order of 2004 is clear how they are constituted, monitored and who they reported to. But he unsuccessfully tried to claim that the team did not report to him, but to officers below him.
As per the police manual, only after his approval is the team provided with weapons. A separate arms and ammunition register has to be maintained which should reflect the purpose, duration and the date of issuance of the weapon. But the arms registers of the police stations in the case have no such entries of the weapons issued to the police who fired. To this, he glibly replied that it had to be explained by the officer who maintained the records and it was not his ultimate responsibility.
Monitoring of the case
Sajjanar constituted nine teams to investigate the death of the veterinarian and instructed them in writing “to report the progress from time to time to him without fail”. Yet he denied the fact of monitoring the investigation and claimed that his role was limited to taking routine briefings from junior officers – neither did he agree that he personally identified the members of SOT in this case.
But his memo dated November 30, 2019 is categorical that they “were deputed for security and to aid ACP, Shadnagar during the custodial investigation of the accused persons”. It also revealed that he endorsed the specific vehicle for the transportation of the accused to the spot of firing. He also sanctioned six long weapons to the escort police, while the accused were taken to the place of firing purportedly to recover the incriminating material.