The CBI has registered a case against Gujarat police officials to probe the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausarbi in 2005.
The CBI took up the case on directions of the Supreme Court which came down heavily on the Gujarat Government for failing to conduct impartial investigations and attempting to “mislead” the apex court by filing conflicting action taken reports (ATRs).
CBI registered a case on Monday against Gujarat police officials and others under various sections of IPC including criminal conspiracy, murder and kidnapping, CBI sources said.
A team would arrive in Ahmedabad on Wednesday to take over the case property from the Gujarat CID department which had filed a charge sheet against 14 police officials including DIG D.G. Vanzara and IPS officers Rajkumar Pandyan and Dinesh Kumar, the sources said.
The case has turned to be a major embarrassment for the Narendra Modi Government in the Supreme Court which slammed the Gujarat government’s probe saying that there were factual discrepancies in the ATRs and the charge sheet. “We feel that the police authorities of the state of Gujarat had failed to carry out a fair and impartial investigation as we initially wanted them to do.
“It cannot be questioned that the offences the high police officials have committed was of grave nature which needs to be strictly dealt (with),” the apex court said while directing the CBI probe.
The court asked the CBI to probe if there was any “larger conspiracy” to the killings and submit the report within six months for its perusal.
Suspended DIG Vanzara and Pandiyan (both Gujarat cadre IPS officers) besides Kumar (Rajasthan cadre IPS officer) are the main accused in the case of killing of Sheikh.
Sheikh was allegedly killed by the Gujarat policemen with the help of Andhra Pradesh police claiming that he was planning to kill Mr. Modi.
According to the apex court, though initially the investigations were proceeding in right direction under Inspector V.L. Solanki, subsequently there were attempts to scuttle the same and mislead the court on the progress.
The court had also lamented that the Gujarat Government deliberately attempted to mislead the court on the whereabouts of Sheikh’s wife Kausarbi and their family friend Tulsiram Prajapati who are also alleged to have been killed by police to destroy evidence.
The apex court had said that it would be appropriate to order a CBI inquiry to instil confidence among the relatives of the deceased and the people as those involved in the crime are high-ranking police officials.
Supreme Court had rejected the Gujarat Government’s argument that once the charge sheet had been filed the court has no power to transfer the investigation to another agency.