CBI is for the first time probing the role of Mumbai police in an inter-state fake encounter. Seven city policemen, including an IPS-rank officer, reportedly detained Sadiq Jamal Mehtar illegally in Mumbai for two weeks before he was shifted to Ahmedabad and killed in an alleged fake encounter on January 13, 2003, CBI officers from Gujarat told The Indian Express.
CBI was granted a three-month extension last week to complete the probe. The agency claimed Sadiq could not have been detained illegally for such a long period without the knowledge of senior Mumbai police officers.
“As many as seven officers from Mumbai have been questioned. An IPS-rank officer is also under the scanner,” said a senior CBI officer.
Sadiq was shot in Naroda area on January 13, 2003, by Ahmedabad Crime Branch, on the basis of the intelligence input that he wanted to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP and VHP leaders.
“The information had been relayed three months before he was killed. While its authenticity is being checked, his (Saqid’s) sudden disappearance, which was later established as illegal detention for two weeks in Mumbai and 10 days in Gujarat, is being looked into,” said the officer.
So far, the agency has made two arrests in the case - Mumbai-based former journalist Ketan Tirodkar and Gujarat Deputy Superintendent of Police Tarun Barot.
CBI officers said substantial documented evidence had surfaced since then and cell tower and call detail records had been scrutinised.
The police officers are learnt to have made a logbook entry, which CBI believes will help it build the case.
Daya Nayak, police sub-inspector and encounter specialist from Mumbai, and Pradeep Sharma, facing trial in another encounter killing in Mumbai, are also being allegedly probed. The two were questioned with another suspended sub-inspector Sachin Vaze early this year.
Rubbishing media reports that Nayak would be made a witness in the case, a senior CBI officer said no one had been given a clean chit.
“There are discrepancies in the statements recorded. Each one is trying to save his skin. The officers have so far shifted responsibility to higher-ups, taking us to even IPS-rank officers,” a CBI source said. Tirodkar’s arrest, the officers claimed, was inevitable.
He had filed two affidavits — one before the special MCOCA court in Mumbai and another before Gujarat High Court — explaining his role in the encounter. He claimed in the affidavit before the special court that Sadiq, 18 in 2001, was known to him as a domestic help in Dubai.
Tirodkar claimed his family had suffered in the 2001 Gujarat carnage.
He allegedly handed over Sadiq to Nayak as the police sub-inspector reportedly wanted to impress a Gujarat-cadre senior.