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Fresh probe into Pathribal encounter not ruled out

January 27, 2014 20:42 IST

A fresh probe into the Pathribal encounter case is not ruled out in view of the major controversy that has erupted after the Army gave a clean chit to its personnel in the infamous incident which took place in Kashmir in 2000.

Indications in this regard came on a day when Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh met Defence Minister A K Antony in New Delhi on Monday.

It was not clear what transpired between them during the meeting.

Sources, however, said reopening of the Pathribal case cannot be ruled out considering the controversy and the sensitive nature of the incident.  Earlier in the day, Antony reviewed the security situation in the country with National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and the chiefs of the army, the air force and the navy.

The army last week closed the Pathribal encounter case saying the evidence recorded could not establish prime facie charges against any of the accused persons.

The force is facing criticism from several quarters including Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who plans to take it up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In the 2000 encounter, five alleged civilians were killed on the ground that they were foreign militants and the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The agency alleged in 2006 that five Army personnel -- Brig Ajay Saxena, Lt Col Brahendra Pratap Singh, Maj Saurabh Sharma, Maj Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan -- were involved in the gunning down of five villagers, dubbing them as foreign militants before the media.

The CBI, in its chargesheet, had alleged that the army officials of Seven Rashtriya Rifles had staged a fake encounter and killed five innocent civilians whom they said were terrorists involved in an attack on Sikhs at Chittisinghpora in south Kashmir.

The CBI alleged that the killing of innocents was a result of 'tremendous psychological pressure' on the army unit to show results after the massacre of 36 Sikhs in Chittisinghpura in the valley on the eve of the visit of then US President Bill Clinton to India.

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