All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has formed a team of three forensic doctors to conduct the second autopsy on the bodies of four men accused of gang-rape and murder of a woman veterinarian near Hyderabad, who were killed in an alleged encounter on Dec 6.

The team will be led by Dr Sudhir Gupta, head of forensic at AIIMS, Dr Adarsh Kumar and Dr Abhishek Yadav as members. Dr Varun Chandra will assist the team in the post-mortem examination. The team will conduct the second autopsy in the mortuary of the state-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad on December 23 at 9 am, an AIIMS communique to Telangana special chief secretary stated. “The medical board will depart for Telangana on Dec 22 and 5.15 pm and will be coming back on Dec 23,” a source said.

The Telangana High Court had directed authorities to conduct a second postmortem on the bodies of the four accused. The bodies have been kept at Gandhi Hospital as per an earlier order of the high court, after pleas were filed alleging extra-judicial killing of the men and claiming it was a fake encounter.

A division bench directed that the autopsy be conducted before Dec 23 and the report be submitted to the Registrar General of the high court.

After the postmortem, the bodies can be handed over to the families of the four men. The doctors were advised to express an independent view on the basis of the evidence collected by them.

The four accused were arrested on Nov 29 for allegedly raping and killing the woman veterinarian and burning her body. The case triggered widespread protests across the country.

On Dec 6, they were gunned down by police at Chattanpalli when they were taken to the site of the offence for reconstruction of the crime scene for investigation. The “encounter” has come under legal scrutiny. The charred remains of the 25-year-old veterinarian were found on Nov 28.

The first post mortem was conducted on Dec 6, the day the four men were killed, in a state-run hospital in Mahabubnagar from where the bodies were subsequently shifted to Gandhi Hospital.