The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named Gulab Chand Kataria, a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Rajasthan, in the supplementary charge sheet it filed on Tuesday in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
The former Rajasthan Home Minister is the second prominent BJP leader to be named in the case after the former Gujarat Home Minister, Amit Shah. Sessions court in Mumbai has issued summons against Mr. Kataria and three others named in the charge sheet — Vimal Patni, a businessman from Rajasthan, N. Balsubramanyam, Inspector General (IG) in Andhra Pradesh, and inspector G. Srinivas Rao. All four are likely to appear before the court on June 4.
According to the charge sheet, Sheikh was eliminated after he tried to extort Rs 24 crore from Mr. Patni. The Udaipur businessman had contacted Mr. Kataria who is the elected representative of the city. The BJP leader acted as the link between Mr. Shah and Mr. Patni. Mr. Shah then planned the encounter with the help of Gujarat and AP police, says the charge sheet. The CBI has also submitted Call Data Record (CDR) of all the accused, showing they were constantly in touch.
The charge sheet runs into more than 350 pages. The number of accused has increased to 23 from 19. Charges have been framed against the accused under section 302 (murder), 342 (wrongful confinement), 341 (wrongful restraint), 368, 364, 365 (kidnapping) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat's Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005. Tulsiram Prajapati, a key witness to the encounter, was also allegedly killed by the police in December 2006.
The Supreme Court ordered transfer of the Sheikh encounter case to Maharashtra on September 27 last year after the CBI said witnesses were being intimidated and the trial would not be free and fair in Gujarat.