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Sunday, October 16, 2016

FIR registered on EDI’s complaint over ‘missing’ LCDs during Pampore encounter

Manager Estate says everything was intact at guesthouse till October 12 evening

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Oct 15: Police on Saturday registered a criminal case against anonymous persons on a complaint filed by Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) regarding the LCD TVs and other articles allegedly stolen by Police or security forces from a guesthouse during or after the three-day-long gunfight at the hostel block early this week.

STATE TIMES had exclusively reported in Saturday’s edition that over a dozen LCDs, besides mattresses and blankets, were missing from 13 rooms of the EDI guesthouse and the officials believed that these had been looted or stolen away by the Police or security forces who camped at the premises without break for three days. This newspaper reported that EDI were lodging FIR at Police Station of Pampore.

Director General of Police, K Rajendra Kumar, IGP Kashmir, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani, and CRPF spokesman, Rajesh Yadav, had said that they would check with the Police and security forces on duty and share the facts with this newspaper. Subsequently, Zonal Police headquarters today issued a press release, confirming that a complaint had been received from EDI.  

“Apropos to the news story regarding missing of some articles from EDI, Pampore published by a Jammu based newspaper today. Awantipora police authorities have informed that they have received a complaint in this regard from EDI. The contents of the complaint are being verified to check whether the articles went missing before the encounter, during the encounter or after the encounter. After this a formal FIR is being lodged to investigate the matter”, said the Police press release.

SHO Pampore, Inspector Manzoor Ahmad Beg, later confirmed to STATE TIMES that after preliminary verification of the EDI complaint, Police Station Pampore registered case FIR No: 183 of 2016 dated October 15, 2016, under sections 379 and 457 RPC against the anonymous persons. He said that the complaint did not identify anybody as a suspect.

“We have registered the FIR and started the investigation. We are ascertaining whether the LCDs and other articles had been really installed at the guesthouse; if confirmed, whether the same had been stolen during the course of the encounter when only Police and security forces were present there, or thereafter when others had access to the premises”, Inspector Manzoor said.

“Unfortunately, all the CCTV cameras had been installed at the hostel building which was severely damaged in the encounter and none of these was at the guesthouse or other parts of the premises”, Mr Manzoor added. He sounded optimistic that the Police would unravel the whole mystery.

Even as the seven-floor hostel block, in which militants were killed, suffered extensive damage in the three-day-long encounter on October 10, 11 and 12, the three-storey guesthouse remained unharmed. Men from SOG Awantipore, CRPF 110 Bn and Army’s Special Force carried out the operation without suffering any collateral damage.

EDI’s Manager Estates, Wajahat Matoo, told STATE TIMES that he himself, as well as incharge watch and ward Mohammad Maqbool, found everything intact inside the guesthouse when the encounter ended in the afternoon on October 12. “Everything was in place there till Wednesday (October 12) evening. Some personnel in uniform asked Mohammad Maqbool to leave and told him there was no need of the EDI officials’ presence there. We believe everything has been stolen away during the night intervening Wednesday and Thursday”, Mr Matoo said.

Manager Estates said that he filed a complaint with SHO Pampore on Thursday (October 13). “He told us that we will go for preliminary verification and thereafter register the FIR”, Mr Matoo added.

According to the Manager Estates, 13 LCD TVs (32 inch Sony), each with a set top box (Airtel), have been removed and stolen away from all the 13 rooms (8 rooms on 1st floor and 5 special suites on 2nd floor). Each unit cost Rs 28,000 to Rs 32,000. “They have left behind only the beds and mattresses. Full sets of beddings including Bombay Dyeing blankets, quilts, bed sheets, bed covers and pillows have been stolen away from the 13 rooms. Even the bone China crockery and cutlery, tea sets, bowls, plates and utensils have been completely stolen from the kitchen”, he added.

One gas cylinder and one gas cutter are also missing from the EDI administrative block that is under renovation following the February 20-22 fidayeen attack in which the four-floor building had suffered extensive damage. Two CRPF men, on EDI gardener, four Army personnel, including two captains, and three militants had got killed in the three-day gunbattle in February this year.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

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