NATIONAL

Murder case against Gujarat ADGP for 1984 encounter

The Gujarat Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has re-opened the investigation into a 26-year-old encounter incident, registering a case against Additional Director-General of Police Kuldeep Sharma, then the Kutch District Superintendent of Police. Mr. Sharma is believed to be behind the exposure of the alleged fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

The case against Mr. Sharma in the Rajkot police station charges him with murder and other serious offences. A police sub-inspector and other policemen posted in Kutch then have been named co-accused. A six-member Special Investigation team, under CID chief S.S. Trivedi, was also constituted on Wednesday to inquire into the alleged fake encounter.

The Gujarat High Court in 1984 asked the CID to probe the encounter killing of Umar Walimamad Mokha and Fakir Mamad Mokha — both alleged to be smugglers in bullions when Kutch was considered a haven for bullion smuggling. The duo — residents of Paiya village — was killed in an alleged encounter on the outskirts of Vamora village in Kutch district on May 10, 1984. Two others of the same family, Juma Haji and his son, Ibrahim, were also claimed to have been picked up by the Kutch police two days before the encounter, but since then there had been no trace of them, nor were their bodies found.

A police complaint was then lodged against Mr. Sharma and others for the alleged fake encounter. After the local police failed to make any headway in the case, a petition was filed in the Gujarat High Court by relatives of Umar and Fakir. The court issued a directive on May 28 the same year to the State CID to inquire into the matter.

In the last 26 years, however, the CID did not take any initiative, or even file an FIR.

In February this year, one Jusab Mokha, claiming to be a family member of the “missing” Juma, reportedly wrote to Director-General of Police S.S. Khandwawala, requesting him to re-open the 1984 encounter killings.

Earlier this month, the DGP's office informed Jusab about the decision to re-open the case and he was told to remain present at the Bhuj circuit house on Sundaym, where his statement was recorded.

Mr. Sharma, never in the good books of the present Bharatiya Janata Party regime in the State, is now Managing Director of the State-owned Sheep and Wool Development Corporation — a post, usually held by an IAS officer.

Probe against Shah

It was during Mr. Sharma's tenure as head of the CID that the State submitted the first interim report on the Sohrabuddin killing, before the Supreme Court admitted it to be “fake,” leading to the arrest of 15 police officials and Amit Shah, now Gujarat's Minister of State for Home. As head of the CID, Mr. Sharma had also written to the then Chief Secretary, suggesting a inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation against Mr. Shah who, it had been alleged, had accepted a bribe of Rs. 2.5 crore from the former stock broker, Ketan Parekh, to ensure that he was not arrested in connection with the Rs. 1,300-crore Madhavpura Mercantile Bank fraud.

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