SIT blames collusion between police and local leaders for poll-related violence in Andhra Pradesh

SIT named 1,370 people as accused in 33 cases and 124 arrests made. The SIT also identified many lapses in the investigations.

SIT blames collusion between police and local leaders for poll-related violence in Andhra Pradesh

AMARAVATI: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) exposed the collusion between the police and local leaders in the violence that marred election day and its aftermath in Andhra Pradesh.

The 13-member SIT, formed on the Election Commission of India (ECI) orders, submitted a preliminary report to Director General of Police Harish Kumar Gupta, revealing 33 incidents of violence. The SIT, headed by Inspector General (IG) Vineet Brijlal, included one Superintendent of Police (SP), one Additional SP, four Deputy Superintendents of Police (Dy.SsP), seven Inspectors of Police, and a Legal Advisor.

Four sub-teams were formed, each led by a Dy.SP. Two teams were deployed to the Palnadu district, one to Anantapuram and one to Tirupati.

The investigation lasted two days. During this time, officials visited the violence-hit areas and collected information from local police, community leaders, and residents. They also examined the First Information Reports (FIRs) filed in connection with the violence. The team continued their investigation until late Sunday night, culminating in the submission of a preliminary report to the DGP.

The DGP directed that additional sections of the IPC and CrPC be included to ensure a thorough investigation of the incidents in Palnadu, Tadipatri, Macharla, Narasaraopet, Tirupati, and Chandragiri.

The SIT's 150-page report detailed the 33 incidents reported in Palnadu, Tirupati, and Anantapur districts. Specifically, Palnadu had 22 cases across three Assembly constituencies within eight police station limits; Anantapuram had seven cases in one Assembly constituency within one police station limit; and Tirupati had four cases across two Assembly constituencies. These cases were selected based on the intensity of the major incidents of violence that occurred on polling day and post-poll day.

The SIT sub-teams camped in the concerned districts, thoroughly reviewing the cases by examining records, visiting the scenes of offences, interacting with Investigating Officers (IOs) and aggrieved persons, verifying collected physical evidence, and assessing witness statements. They checked whether appropriate sections of law were applied, whether all incidents were registered as cases, and whether the accused were identified and arrested.

In these 33 critical cases, 1,370 individuals were named as accused in the FIRs, with 124 arrests made. The SIT found many offences to be extremely serious, involving large groups of miscreants pelting stones indiscriminately, which could have led to severe injuries or deaths.

The investigation revealed that the police, in collusion with local leaders, neglected to adequately address the violent incidents. The SIT identified many lapses in the investigations and instructed the IOs to comply promptly. Special teams were formed to identify and apprehend the accused at the district level. IOs were asked to file memos in the concerned courts to add appropriate legal sections to the existing ones, collect digital evidence like CCTV footage and videos, arrest the accused, and file charge sheets promptly.

During field visits, the SIT received representations from various aggrieved persons and is verifying the facts for further necessary action. After submitting the detailed confidential report and discussing the findings, the DGP expressed satisfaction. The DGP directed the concerned District SsP, DIG Anantapur, and DIG Guntur to complete the investigations in coordination with the SIT team.

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