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Friday, March 26, 2010

Dr Sofi remanded to judicial custody, lodged in Central Jail

Another cellphone user’s statement recorded by Chief Judicial Magistrate

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Mar 26: Booked and arrested in the offence of committing rape on a female patient at his clinic, suspended Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Pulwama district, Dr Ghulam Qadir Sofi, has been shifted to Srinagar and lodged in Central Jail after Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) remanded him to judicial custody today.

Informed sources in south Kashmir told Early Times that Police today produced Dr Ghulam Qadir Sofi before CJM Pulwama, Mr Aijaz Ahmed Khan, who remanded the suspended CMO to judicial custody till April 5th. Thereafter, Dr Sofi was shifted to Srinagar where he was lodged in a barrack of the Central Jail. Sources said that Police arranged Sofi’s transportation to the capital city secretly so as to protect him from public wrath. According to reports, hundreds of people, who seem to be outraged and angry over the CMO’s immoral act on a woman patient, had gathered at the district headquarters. They seemed to be waiting for an opportunity to harm the accused.

Sensing the trouble, Police shifted the CMO to Srinagar and residents came to know about it hours later. Even as the markets were open for business, there was widespread condemnation to the rape of a hapless woman that, according to Police investigation, has been committed in the holy month of Ramazan in September last year and recorded by two persons on a mobile phone. Imam of the local Jamia Masjid expressed concern over the moral turpitude of government officials and involvement of certain people with the immoral activity. In his sermon at the Friday afternoon mass prayers, he advised residents to hold an introspection of the society and arrest the rot before it assumed menacing proportions.

After the prayers conclude, over a hundred people formed a procession which proceeded towards a major market while shouting pro-Islam slogans. Participants, expressing their anger over the CMO’s immoral act, were heard shouting slogans like “berahravi band karo”. As soon as some of the participants began shouting anti-government slogans, the procession was terminated by the organizers.

CJM Pulwama today recorded the statement of another mobile phone user, identified as Hilal Ahmed, under section 164 Cr PC. Statement of his associate, Altaf Ahmed, and owner of the Nokia used in secretly shooting the CMO’s rape on the woman, namely Bashir Ahmed, had been recorded at the court of CJM Pulwama yesterday. As already reported, the mobile phone, that has been seized by Police, after seizing a widely circulated video clip of the rape, has been sent for forensic examination to Chandigarh-based Forensic Science Laboratory of Central Crime Detection Training School. Investigators are expecting a report from the FSL within a week’s time.

Sources said that Police were still questioning the victim of the rape and her statement was likely to be recorded in the court under section 164 Cr PC in a couple of days.