Sunday, June 19, 2011

Complaint against 17 police officials

A fresh complaint was lodged with the Ahmedabad police on Saturday against 17 top police officers of Gujarat and Maharashtra, former and present, in connection with the alleged fake encounter killing of Sadiq Jamal Mehtar, who was gunned down by personnel of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch in January, 2003.

The Gujarat High Court had on Thursday handed over to the CBI the investigation into the encounter and directed the police to register a fresh F.I.R. in the case.

The fresh complaint was lodged by Sadiq's brother, Shabbir Jamal, after the original complaint was “filed” by the police for “want of evidence against any of the accused,” following which, he had filed a petition in the High Court that led to a CBI inquiry in the case.

Among the 17 accused listed by Shabbir were the then Ahmedabad Police Commissioner, K.R. Kaushik, the then Ahmedabad Crime Branch chief, P.P. Pandey, and his deputy, D.G. Vanzara, already in jail in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter. Mr. Vanzara's counterpart in Maharashtra, Daya Nayak, known as an “encounter specialist” is also among the accused, as Shabbir claimed that his brother was already in the custody of Mr. Nayak, who had “handed him over” in Mumbai to Mr. Vanzara and other police officials from the State.

Though he had not named them in the complaint, Shabbir later told media-persons that the then Union Home Minister, L.K. Advani, and the Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, were also in the know as he believed that the “Sadiq encounter” was plotted at least two months in advance to gain political support” for Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

According to Shabbir, Sadiq had left their Bhavnagar home for Mumbai after their father, who drove an autorickshaw for a living, had rebuked him for being booked by the police in a gambling case. A few days later, some senior police officers of Bhavnagar informed the father that Sadiq was “an operative” of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“It is clear that the police had already started counting on Sadiq as a possible scapegoat for its encounter operation,” he said.

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