Sohrabuddin case: CBI likely to seek 3 months extension from apex court

July 29th, 2010 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi Gandhinagar, July 29 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team, which is probing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake shootout, is likely to seek a three-month extension from the Supreme Court when it files its interim report before it on Friday, highly placed sources said.
Meanwhile, the team has sought permission from its headquarters to question Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in his capacity as the state’s home minister, the sources said. The request is learnt to be pending.

A similar request was made April 14 for the arrest of then deputy commissioner of Ahmedabad Crime Branch Abhay Chudasama and then junior home minister Amit Shah. While approval came for Chudasama’s arrest that for Shah was not granted until much later. Chudasama was arrested April 28 and Shah on July 25.

The investigating team’s plea to its headquarters has been that Shah’s arrest was essential for the demoralized and awestruck Gujarat police top brass to come out with the facts of how they were arm-twisted by the minister to do his bidding, thus frustrating and even misguiding the investigations even after the Supreme Court’s orders.

The probe team’s line of thought has proved correct. Retired additional director general of police G.C. Raigar, who was the first to be summoned and questioned as a witness on Monday, has spilled the beans.

Raigar was heading the state CID (Crime), the elite investigating agency of the Gujarat police in the initial days of its probe into Sohrabuddin killing. In his five-hour-long questioning, Raigar has dealt at length on how he was stripped of his charge at the dead of night after he turned down Shah’s suggestion of derailing the investigations.

Modi signed the transfer orders on the spot in the midst of an ongoing Bharatiya Janata Party ‘chintan shibir’ (introspection session) late in the night.

State police chief P.C. Pande and Raigar’s junior, Geetha Johri, were present on both occasions when Shah sought to pressurize Raigar. Pande and Johri have both been summoned by the CBI to present themselves for questioning on Aug 11 and 10, respectively.

Johri is out of the country and is expected back by Aug 7.

After Raigar, it is now their turn to come clean on Shah and his role in the case. Logically, the next in line for questioning is Shah, who was vested with the powers for transfer and postings of all police officers above the rank of deputy superintendent of police. Modi has retained the home portfolio ever since he came to power in the state.

The CBI had also summoned O.P. Mathur, who succeeded Raigar in the post. He, however, failed to turn up on the plea that his mother was ill and sought time.

Mathur was the additional director general of police heading the state CID (Crime) when DIG Rajnish Rai arrested the three IPS officers - DIG D.G. Vanzara and SPs Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh M.N. on April 24, 2007.

Mathur is suspected of playing a key role in obfuscating the probe at the behest of his political masters and was rewarded with the post of Ahmedabad police commissioner, from where he retired.

The CD of telephone calls made by the concerned officers and the minister in the period before, during and after the Sohrabuddin shootout submitted by Rai when he was abruptly transferred was found tampered with, the sources said.

There are numerous other examples which have come to the notice of the CBI during its investigations. Mathur figures on the radar of the CBI and his role in the case is suspect.

The transfers and postings carried out to suit the role that the officers now in the dock performed in relation to the case will now come under increased scrutiny, the sources said.

In the Supreme Court on Friday, the CBI may also ask for the investigations pertaining to Tulsi Prajapati’s suspected fake gunbattle to be handed over to it. Prajapati, a close associate of Sohrabuddin, was killed on Dec 28, 2006, also under orders of Vanzara who had been transferred as DIG (Border Range) by then.

The move was aimed at wiping out the lone eyewitness to the killing of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauserbi. Prajapati had, in a letter to a Udaipur court before his death, expressed the fear that he would be eliminated.

Apparently in a frantic bid to prevent the Prajapati case from going to the CBI, the state CID (Crime) has been conducting investigations at a frenetic pace. It has used up the maximum 14-day remand permitted by law for interrogation of suspects. Since this forms a part of the Sohrabuddin case, the CBI may ask the Supreme Court to transfer the case to it.

Related Stories

    Posted in Uncategorized |