Justice R. H. Shukla on Wednesday reserved orders till Friday on the bail application of the former Minister, Amit Shah, after the Gujarat High Court was told that Sohrabuddin's wife Kausarbi was killed not in a farm house but in the office of the Anti-Terrorist Squad here and with the knowledge of the Minister.
Mukul Sinha, advocate for Rubabuddin, the slain gangster's younger brother, narrated the events that preceded Kausarbi's murder, which, he said, had been pieced together by following the locations of the mobile phones held by the persons involved in the crime.
All investigating agencies so far declared that she had been “missing” and that she had “disappeared in mysterious circumstances.”
According to Dr Sinha, the couple, after having been picked up from a Hyderabad-Sangli bus in Andhra Pradesh, were brought to Ahmedabad by an ATS team on November 23, 2005, and were kept in the Disha farm house on the outskirts of Gandhinagar. In the small hours of November 26, Sohrabuddin was taken out of the farm house and killed in a fake encounter near Narol here. The same day Kausarbi was moved out around 10 a.m. and lodged in another farm house nearby, Arham, whose owner Rajendra Jirawala has been arrested. She was kept at Arham for three days under the personal supervision of ATS inspector Balkrishna Chaube.
Dr. Sinha claimed, adding she had been “ill-treated” all the three days. In the morning of November 29, Kausarbi was brought to the ATS office by Chaube and presented before the then ATS chief, D. G. Vanzara. Dr. Sinha said the police then had no intention of eliminating Kausarbi and they tried to reason with her to go back to her village in Madhya Pradesh. But she was adamant. Mr. Vanzara and others quickly realised that letting her go would be risky for them and drew a plan to eliminate her too, the advocate said.
Around 4.30 p.m., Deputy Superintendent of Police Narendra Amin, who was a practising doctor before he joined the police force, was summoned to the ATS office. Dr. Sinha alleged that at the behest of Mr. Vanzara, Mr. Amin injected her with a very high dose of Pentothal, an anaesthetic drug, which caused her death around 5 p.m. Dr. Sinha claimed that during the period, Mr. Shah had called Mr. Amin 15 times and wondered why a junior Home Minister should repeatedly call a mere DSP.
Mr. Shah's counsel , however, claimed that during the same period a four-year-old boy had “disappeared” in Gandhinagar and in that connection the Minister was making enquiries from the police officer concerned.
According to Dr. Sinha, after Kausarbi's death, Mr. Vanzara asked inspector V. A. Rathod to arrange for wood to burn the body. Mr. Rathod procured wood from Motera village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad and loaded it in a police vehicle driven by constable Natubhai. The two reached the Prantij cross-roads in Sabarkantha district, where Mr. Amin and Mr. Chaube in a blue jeep, carrying Kausarbi's body, and Mr. Vanzara and the co-accused IPS officer, Rajkumar Pandian, in another police vehicle, joined them.
The three police vehicles travelled 50 km further into the district and reached Illol, ancestral village of Mr. Vanzara, where the body was burnt on a river bed in the intervening midnight of November 29-30 and the remains were disposed of, Dr Sinha claimed.
Dr. Sinha argued that it was against protocol for a junior officer in the rank of DSP to talk to the Minister of State for Home without a valid reason and his prior permission. The conversation was permissible only with Mr. Shah's consent and this was possible only because it related to an extortion racket and the encounter killing of Sohrabuddin. Dr. Sinha further argued that the same trend could be seen in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin's aide, Tulsiram Prajapati, a year later. He alleged that the Minister and the police officers had telephonic talks at least 76 times during the Prajapati encounter.
Appearing for Mr. Shah, Nirupam Nanavati argued that the former Minister had been victimised by the Central Bureau of Investigation. As for the Minister talking to a to a “petty” police officer, Mr. Nanavati claimed that the conversation was about the Gandhinagar kidnap case and that it had nothing to do with the Sohrabuddin case. Protocol could not be a barrier in such situations, he said.