A top police officer in Jammu and Kashmir, who was instrumental in securing the conviction of the accused in the Kathua gangrape and murder case, has been transferred a week before the convicts’ appeal comes up for hearing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Inspector General of Police (Crime) Ahfad-ul-Mujtaba has been posted as Managing Director J&K Police Housing Corporation. Mukesh Singh, an IPS officer on Central deputation, has been posted as the new IGP Crime.
Mujtaba’s transfer has raised eyebrows in official circles because the Crime Branch recently wrote to the government, recommending that the acquittal of one of the accused be challenged, and the appeal should seek enhancement of punishment of the other convicts.
However, K Vijay Kumar, advisor to J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik, who holds the Home Department portfolio, said that the Kathua case has nothing to do with Mujtaba’s transfer.
“He has not been shifted. He has been given the choicest posting,” Kumar told The Indian Express. “There is no negative at all in this transfer. It is only very positive and we appreciate the good work (done by him).
Kumar said that the recommendations of the Crime Branch are with the Home Department.
On June 25, the Crime Branch wrote to J-K government’s Home department recommending appeal against the acquittal of one of the accused, enhancement of sentence against the convicts and proper legal defence against the convicts’ appeal in court. When the Home Department returned the file to the Crime Branch, it sent a second letter of request on July 5 and repeated for the sanction to challenge the acquittal.
“The file (sent by the Crime Branch) is under process with the Home Department and it will be done,” he said. “Hundred per cent, it (Mujtaba’s transfer) has nothing to do with the (Kathua) case. Mukesh (Singh, the new IGP Crime) has experience in CBI and NIA and will definitely do a good job,” Kumar said.
“This (shifting of IGP Mujataba) is de-motivating for the police officers,” said a senior J-K Police officer. “Instead of appreciating their hard work, when you move officers like this, it sends a wrong message in the belt force. Such moves discourage the officers”.
IGP Mujtaba handled the politically charged rape and murder case of the eight-year-old Bakerwal girl at Rasana village of Kathua in Jammu last year. With at least two of the then BJP ministers backing the group which was supporting the accused, IGP Mujtaba formulated a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising of officers from across the state.