Blatant misuse of tax-payers’ money by the state government to pay compensation to victims of alleged atrocities committed by police officials has come to light once again after the government quietly paid Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of a person who was killed in an ‘’encounter’’ in Guntur district in May 2002.
The government’s move came after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which held a subinspector responsible, termed it a fake encounter and wrote to the government directing that the compensation be paid immediately.
Though the NHRC had given the direction in July last year, the government reported compliance in January this year and hushed it up. This is the second instance of the government paying money for alleged atrocities by policemen.
In the past, the NHRC had directed the government to pay Rs 2 lakh each to the victims of another senior IPS offier Tejdeep Kaur Menon.
NHRC officials told Express over telephone from Delhi that a man, Meda Venkateswarulu, was shot dead in an ‘’encounter’’ by the Guntur district police at Sitanagaram on the outskirts of Vijayawada in the wee hours of May 4, 2002. PSR Anjaneyulu, who is IGP (Greyhounds) now, was the district SP then.
However, the NHRC has not made any adverse observations against Anjaneyulu. The ‘’encounter’’, the first of its kind then, created a sensation.
The victim’s family members approached the Human Rights Forum which moved the NHRC with a 103-page complaint, primarily holding Anjaneyulu responsible for encounters and torture during his tenure as SP of Guntur and Kurnool districts.
After a probe, the NHRC made the following observations: 1) The Andhra Pradesh government did not provide answers to specific queries raised by NHRC 2) The state failed to point out infirmity in the reasons recorded by NHRC 3) Forensic evidence proves that the encounter was fake 4) The account of the encounter provided by the state is false and points to a great likelihood that a sub-inspector of police concerned fired a series of gun shots at Venkateswarlu who was unable to defend himself which is a grievous violation of human rights.
‘’The complainant cited 17 more instances of encounters and torture during Anjaneyulu’s tenure as SP but the NHRC has given direction only in one case,’’ a spokesperson of NHRC said. Police sources say that Venkateswarlu was involved in a murder and three attempt-to- murder cases, including one on a police sub-inspector at Mangalagiri in 1996.
A police constable too escaped bid on his life in that incident. Though Venkateswarlu was allegedly involved in several cases of rape, none was registered in police records as the victims shied away from complaining.
Venkateswarlu had four wives. It is learnt that 10 cases were pending against him in East and West Godavari districts besides 12 in Guntur district.
Interestingly, this is the second instance of government paying compensation for alleged atrocities committed by IPS officers. Earlier, NHRC had directed the government to pay Rs 4 lakh to a couple who were allegedly thrashed and harassed by additional DGP-rank officer Tejdeep Kaur Menon.
Though the procedure followed in other states is that the compensation amount is deducted from the salaries of the policemen concerned, the state government has coolly paid off the money without deducting it from the salaries of the officers concerned.