Kohima: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted to probe the December 4-5 killings in Mon district’s Oting on Thursday said that more than 81 civilian witnesses and 37 Army and Assam Rifles (AR) personnel were identified for investigation.

A total of 14 civilians were gunned down by army personnel in the incident.

While the SIT had submitted its preliminary report about four days after the expiry of the stipulated time, Nagaland Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Sandeep M Tamgadge said the SIT, which swung to action on December 5, has worked overtime for the past one-month and a well-planned investigation was conducted with 21 police officers divided into eight teams.

Out of the 8 teams, 4 teams examined witnesses at various places, and one team each has been assigned to conduct cyber and technology analysis, compilation of documents, studying, recreating of the crime scenes, collecting, and compilation for forensic tests, and a coordination team with the forensic laboratories.

As for the over 81 civilian witnesses, he said that it is inclusive of the injured at Mon, Dimapur and Dibrugarh, drivers, government officials, villagers and so on.

The ADGP (Law and Order), who was assigned the overall supervision of the SIT, said that under Section 91 CrPC notices were issued to Army officials for collection of important documents, and the SIT has received information from the army on multiple questions raised.

After the collection of documents, names and details of persons who were part of the operation at Oting on December 4, a total of 37 officers and others from the army and AR were identified and examined. He clarified that no pre-recorded statements were made in this regard.

Further, statements of the two surviving victims were also recorded.

He added that a team from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad and Guwahati also visited the scene of crime on December 21 and investigated it for two days.

So far, he said that the field investigation and the Call Detail Record (CDR) analysis is over, and the SIT is awaiting results of the cyber forensics from the forensic science labs at Hyderabad, Guwahati and NIELIT in Kohima.

“As soon as we receive these reports, which are very crucial reports, we will be in a position to start preparing the final report which will be submitted to the honorable competent court in Mon,” he said.

According to the police officer, the SIT has collected a lot of documentary evidence and the evidence at the scene of crime remains intact, in case of further investigation.

While it is uncertain of when the forensic analysis will be submitted to the SIT, he informed that a special request has been made to the labs that considering the sensitivity of the case, the investigation be expedited and shared with the SIT as soon as possible.

With regard to the disclosure of the findings, he said that the final report will be submitted to the court under section 173 CrPC following which the proceedings of the case will be in public domain. At present, he said that it is not legal to disclose findings as the case is under investigation.

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