Raman Patel and Dashrath Patel,owners of city-based Popular Builders who are facing a criminal prosecution with reference to a controversial firing in their office at Navrangpura here in December 2004,have moved a joint petition before the Gujarat HC,seeking to get the case further investigated by the CBI and also to get a clean chit. The Patels have moved the petition while citing the CBIs contention in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case that the firing on the Popular Builders office was staged by senior Gujarat Police officers and others to create a criminal record against Sheikh in the state and to extort money.
On December 8,2004,two unidentified gunmen opened fire at the office of Patels in which no one was hurt. Navrangpura police had registered a case in this regard based on a complaint lodged by the receptionist of the office who was also the lone eye-witness in the case. The case was shifted to Ahmedabad City Detection of Crime Branch,where suspended IPS officer D G Vanzara was posted as Deputy Commissioner of Police. Later,Vanzara was transferred to Gujarat ATS as Deputy Inspector General of Police and subsequently,investigation of the Popular Builder firing case was also shifted to Gujarat ATS. The police had named the Patel brothers as accused in the case along with some others.
However,while investigating the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case,the CBI gave a statement that the firing at Popular Builders office was a stage managed one by some of the accused in the Sohrabuddin encounter case like Vanzara,Abhay Chudasama and Amit Shah. The CBI alleged that these people were running an extortion racket through Sheikh.
Meanwhile,Patel brothers faced a separate criminal prosecution in the case registered against them by the Gujarat Police before a criminal court in Ahmedabad. The chargesheet was submitted against them long ago.
Recently,Patel brothers moved a petition,citing the CBI probe being supervised by the Supreme Court. In the petition,they said,The investigation of CBI revealed that the incident of firing,dated 8.12.2004,was stage managed by the accused police officers and others using gang members of Sohrabuddin with a view to extort money from the petitioners and create a criminal antecedent of Sohrabuddin in Gujarat for taking action against him in future. The CBI took the same view in their investigation of fake encounter of Tulsiram Prajapati. The Patels have alleged that the state government is not independent and impartial and has attempted to save the accused police officers.
The petition is scheduled to be heard in November after the Diwali vacation.