Srinagar, Feb 13 (IANS) The Border Security Force (BSF) troopers allegedly involved in the killing of a 17-year-old youth here Feb 5 had left telltale evidence at the scene of the crime, police sources said here Saturday.
‘The convoy of three vehicles headed by commandant R.K. Virdi of 68 Battalion was returning from the Nishat headquarters in the afternoon of Feb 5 when the tragic incident occurred,’ sources here told IANS.
According to the sources, investigators got hold of crucial evidence pointing towards this convoy on the day of the incident in which 17-year old Zahid Farooq Sheikh was shot in the chest and killed.
A live bullet of an INSAS rifle was recovered from the site, as also a piece of a uniform, pointing towards the involvement of the BSF troopers, the sources said.
The investigators were fortunate enough to lay their hands on the CCTV footage from the headquarters of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the Nishat area, barely 300 metres away from where the youth had been shot, the sources added.
‘The CCTV footage was given to us willingly by the CRPF officers and it recorded the time the convoy of three vehicles had crossed the CRPF headquarters, exactly two minutes after the shoot-out,’ the sources said.
As the police informed senior BSF officials about the evidence they had gathered, the BSF decided to hand over one of the troopers, who was one of the 15 including the commandant, travelling in the convoy on that day, the sources said.
‘Sustained questioning of Lakhwinder Kumar, the trooper handed over to the investigators, led him to disclose that he had fired at the youth under direct orders from his commandant,’ the sources said.
After the disclosure, police summoned all the other fourteen BSF troopers travelling in the convoy.
‘All the weapons the 15 troopers carried have been seized by the investigators and they have also seized the three vehicles,’ the sources said.
One bullet has been found missing from the chamber of an INSAS rifle the troopers carried with them Feb 5.
Meanwhile, the BSF has removed Virdi from his duties at the Line of Control and attached him in Srinagar to be available to the investigators for questioning.
The BSF has recommended his suspension and also constituted a court of enquiry to be headed by an inspector general to probe the incident.
‘The noose is tightening around the involved persons and it is only a matter of time before they are turned over to justice,’ the sources said.
Meanwhile, the BSF Saturday issued a statement maintaining it had never tried to protect or cover up the involvement of any of its personnel allegedly involved in the youth’s killing.