The Hindu: Praveen Swami: SRINAGAR, June 6, 2010
Forensic investigators found no evidence to support the proposition that a fire-fight had taken place: the three victims had all been shot through the head at point blank range.
Shah, a former jihadist who was recruited to the 161 Territorial Army Battalion, is believed to have told the police that Major Singh paid each of the conspirators Rs. 50,000 for helping to kidnap the victims.
Police sources told The Hindu that Colonel Pathania kept Rs. 2,00,000 of the source-payment funds authorised by XV corps. Major Singh is thought to have kept Rs.1,50,000.
The 4 Rajput claimed to have recovered Kalashnikov assault rifles, three other assault rifles, 230 rounds of ammunition and grenades from the killed men. The police believe that they were likely part of a cache recovered by troops along the Line of Control in 2009.
Military sources say the killings were likely driven by intense pressure to secure operational success — a prerequisite for promotions in the Army's intensely competitive hierarchy. The 4 Rajput had registered little counter-infiltration success, compared with other units in the 53 Brigade and adjoining 104 Brigade's areas of operations. The police are now investigating the possibility that the 4 Rajput might have staged an earlier shootout that took place in August 2009 in the Sonapindi pass.
Key to the malaise, the Jammu and Kashmir government believes, is the Army's failure to act against rogue elements.
Read full acount of military misadventure: The Hindu: Macchil killings point to malaise in military
Gen Jaiswal said, “It (inquiry) will be totally transparent and the truth will be there.... The inquiry is on. Our genuine concern is to be transparent. This is the first step. And this should be the indicator that subsequently we will be coming out with the truth.”
This is the second time that the Army has removed a serving officer from a command. Earlier, Colonel Gloria of 33 Rashtriya Rifles was removed for allegedly killing three boys who were playing cricket in a playground in Dudipora-Handwara in February 2006, three months after he had taken over the reins of the counter-insurgency unit.
Read more: Colonel removed, Major suspended in J&K fake encounter case: click here
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