Non-bailable warrants were issued on Wednesday against five army personnel, including the commanding officer of an army unit, by a sessions court in Srinagar for killing a civilian in an alleged fake encounter in Ganderabl area in 2006.
The warrants were issued by Principal District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar, Hasnain Masoodi as the five accused army personnel had failed to be present at any hearing of the case so far.
The court listed the next date of hearing as April 17.
Eleven persons, including five army personnel, five policemen and a civilian were accused of conspiring to kill and murdering Showkat Ahmad Kataria, a priest in a mosque at Zadibal in Srinagar, in a fake encounter on October 4, 2006.
The accused include Colonel Vikram Singh of 13 Rashtriya Rifles, his second in command V K Sharma, Major Rishi, Junior Commissioned Officer Puran Singh and Naik Satya Lal.
Then Superintendent of Police H S Parihar and his deputy Bahadur Ram are among five policemen, who were arrested last year in connection with the killing of Kataria.
Kataria, who hailed from Banihal in Ramban district, was allegedly picked up by security forces from Zadibal area of the city on October 4, 2006. He was later killed in an alleged fake encounter and dubbed as a foreign militant.
The case came to light after police investigations into the missing case of Abdul Rehman Paddar, a carpenter from Kokernag area, revealed that he had been killed in a fake encounter and later dubbed as foreign militant.
Paddar's case sparked massive protests across the valley, leading the state government to constitute a special investigation team for probing the fake encounters in February last year.
During the investigations, four more such cases including that of Kataria came to surface.
Meanwhile, the revision petition filed by the General officer commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 corps of the army on the court directions asking the army to exercise the option of court martial against the accused personnel was deferred till the next date of hearing.In his petition, the army counsel had pleaded that it was not in a position to exercise the option of court martial as the investigating agency had not sought prior sanction from the Centre for prosecution of the accused army personnel.
Under section seven of the Armed forces Special Powers Act, no member of the armed forces can be prosecuted without seeking prior sanction from the Centre, the counsel had argued.