The CBI seems to be inching towards 2002 in its investigation into the fake encounters,especially the Sadiq Jamal Mehtar case,which was among the first police killings based on terrorists gunning for Narendra Modi plot.
On Saturday,a CBI team questioned suspended additional director general of police P P Pandey to probe into the origins of intelligence input which claimed that Mehtar was on a mission to kill the Chief Minister,purportedly to avenge the killing of Muslims during the 2002 riots.
Mehtar was killed in an encounter on January 12-13,2003 in Naroda,Ahmedabad.
Pandey is currently an undertrial in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.
The chargesheet filed in this case has statements pointing towards involvement of Intelligence Bureau officials in apprehending and handing over of Mehtar to the police.
The CBI questioned Pandey in the Sabarmati Central Jail for two hours.
Mehtar,claimed to be an alleged gangster associated with Dawood Ibrahim,was the first to be killed after the post-Godhra riots. The Gujarat Police had claimed that he was a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorist who wanted to eliminate the CM,VHP leader Pravin Togadia and BJP leader L K Advani.
Pandey was interrogated to know more about the events during the post-Godhra riots to ascertain what suspicions or movements crime branch had found regarding the terror theory. Suspended DIG D G Vanzara had come up with the ISI conspiracy case an umbrella case claiming that minister Haren Pandyas murder,Akshardham attacks,and a series of blasts in buses and railway stations of Ahmedabad were the outcome of ISIs conspiracy to spread terror and avenge the post-Godhra killings.
The CBI had questioned former IB director Rajinder Kumar and another officer,Sudhir Kumar,last week in New Delhi in the same case. Sudhir had revealed to the CBI that Rajinder had written a letter to him in the first week of January,2003,stating that Mehtar was missing from Mumbai when he was actually in the custody of Gujarat Police during that period.
Sources in CBI said,Sudhir had claimed that Rajinder had generated the input stating that he had received information from Maharashtra that Mehtar was on a mission to kill the CM.
Both the Maharashtra and Gujarat Police were intimated about the input by Rajinder. Following Sudhirs statements Rajinder was questioned too.
A source said,The series of encounter began in Gujarat after the 2002 riots on the basis that LeT forces were working to kill political bigwigs. The theories of terror conspiracies were hatched after the 2002 riots,claiming that the LeT wanted to take revenge of riots and target Gujarat to spread terror.
In this case,Pandey had written to the then DGP K R Kaushik giving names of the encounter team consisting him,Vanzara,ACP Crime G L Singhal,then inspector Tarun Barot and others to reward them for the Sadiq Jamal operation. Sources in the CBI said that Pandey had played a major role in getting the crime branch team together to carry out the encounter. He had announced that he had carried out the encounter on basis of an intelligence input.
Mehtar was brought to Ahmedabad from Mumbai on January 3 with the help of Mumbai police officer Daya Nayak. He was allegedly illegally detained in Bungalow number 15 (old Crime Branch office of Vanzara) in Shahibaug,where Pandey,too,had his office. Barot had taken custody of Mehtar from Daya Nayak. Rajinder and Pandey had reportedly interrogated him in the same bungalow for two days along with other crime branch officers.