FOLLOWING the bail from the Bombay High Court, suspended police inspector Ashish Pandya — who was serving term in Sohrabuddin’s aide Tulsiram Prajapati encounter case — is next in the line for reinstatement in the police department. Pandya’s resignation letter has been rejected by the state police.
Pandya, who had allegedly shot at Tulsiram Prajapati, was lodged in Palanpur sub-jail since 2010 as an undertrial. He was arrested by the CID (Crime) who probed the Tulsiram encounter case before the CBI took over.
Pandya had sent a resignation letter to Director General of Police P C Thakur in November this year.
In the letter, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, Pandya said, “The motive of my joining the force was ‘nationalism’, but I didn’t find any such spirit in this department of Gujarat state after my experience of one-and-half-decade service. How this department is working you know better than me so I don’t want to expose anything here. I think that would be better.”
However, the state DGP P C Thakur has rejected his resignation letter. “As per the service rules, Pandya was under suspension after his arrest and any officer cannot resign while he is on suspension. We have rejected his resignation letter. Now, if he wants, he can be back to work,” Thakur said.
Pandya is one among the five policemen in Sohrabuddin-Tulsiram encounter case who were released on bail on Monday.
Pandya, known as impulsive policeman among his counterparts, was a part of the special operation group of Banaskantha police in 2006 when IPS officer Vipul Aggarwal was the SP of Banaskantha district.
Aggarwal had reportedly chosen Pandya, who was a police sub-inspector then, to lead the team of the constables from SOG and Rajasthan special task force to eliminate Tulsiram at Chhapri village of Ambaji town in Banaskantha district.
Aggarwal and Pandya, reportedly had a spat in October where Pandya had allegedly slapped Aggarwal inside jail. Pandya was upset with Aggarwal for allegedly having framed him in the case. The matter was, however, resolved without complaints from either side to the state police.
He was allegedly upset with Aggarwal for first using him in the operation and then targeting him during the investigations. He had also alleged with the CBI that he was “pressurised” to take up the encounter.
When the investigation of the Prajapati case was going on, Pandya — who was posted in the anti-corruption bureau in Rajkot — had fled from Gujarat and surrendered to the police after remaining underground for more than 15 days. Search operations were also launched in Rajkot, Bhuj, Ahmedabad and Rajasthan to trace him.
The sources in the CBI said that Pandya had exposed Aggarwal’s role in the encounter and his nexus with suspended SP Rajkumar Pandian and suspended DIG (Border Range) D G Vanzara for planning and executing the encounter.
The state government has reinstated SP Abhay Chudasama and SP Vipul Aggarwal in service after they were released on bail by the court in Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. However, Aggarwal is still waiting for his posting.
Similarly, SP Girish Singhal and commando Anaju Chaudhary were also reinstated a few months back in State Reserved Police Force after they were released on bail in Ishrat Jahan encounter case.