Sadiq encounter case: CBI arrests Mumbai journalist
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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday arrested Mumbai-based journalist Ketan Tirodkar in connection with the 2003 Sadiq Jamal Mehtar encounter case. This is the first arrest in the alleged fake encounter case of 2003.
Earlier in the day, Tirodkar was handed over to the central agency after he appeared before the Gujarat High Court in the afternoon. "After he appeared before the High Court, Tirodkar was brought to the CBI office at Gandhinagar and later in the evening they took him into custody," said his lawyer Japan Dave.
Chief investigating officer Satish Kumar Rathi handed the arrest memo to Tirodkar's cousin, who had accompanied him.
While CBI sources said he was arrested on charges of murder, abduction and conspiracy among others, Dave said the "agency has not not given any reasons (for the arrest) at present". "(CBI) only informed that tomorrow he will be produced before the Special CBI judge in Ahmedabad," Dave added.
Tirodkar, who had been ducking summons by the CBI, is said to be a crucial link to prove that Sadiq's encounter was staged.
The court, meanwhile, granted the CBI an extension of three months (till October 2) to complete the probe. "Having heard CBI counsel and Sinha (Advocate Mukul Sinha who asked the court that CBI must file an Action Taken Report before giving another extension), everybody's endevour should be to do it as soon as possible so that the investigative officer reaches the ultimate truth and real culprits are found out. Therefore, time to conclude the investigation is hereby extended up to October 2," the court observed.
On Wednesday, the CBI had stated that examination of Tirodkar was crucial, after which Justice M R Shah ordered to arrest him if he did not appear before the court on Thursday.
It was one of Tirodkar's affidavits which suggested that Sadiq was killed in a fake encounter. Following this, Sadiq's brother Shabbir took up the matter and approached the High Court seeking probe into the encounter.
Tirodkar has claimed in his affidavit filed before a MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999) court in Mumbai in 2008 that Sadiq was handed over to the Gujarat Police in 2003 days before he was killed. Tirodkar has also named "encounter specialist" Daya Nayak who allegedly mediated the "handover".
Sadiq, a resident of Bhavnagar, was killed in encounter by Gujarat Police in Ahmedabad on January 13, 2003. Police claimed he was a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, and was on a "mission" to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi and VHP leader Pravin Togadia.
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