Dhirubhai Gujarati, a witness to last December’s controversial rape and murder of a Patidar woman in Mandvi village of Bhavnagar’s Gariadhar taluka, committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance here on Sunday.
Patidar organisation Sardar Patel Group (SPG), which is led by Lalji Patel, has accused the local police of harassing the witness, forcing him to take the extreme step. It has threatened to launch an agitation if action is not taken against the responsible police officers.
SPG leader Nachiket Mukhi said Dhirubhai committed suicide because he was being mentally tortured by the local police. “We demand suspension and arrest of all the responsible police officers. Otherwise police and Gujarat government will be responsible if anything happens after that.”
Bhavnagar Superintendent of Police Dipankar Trivedi said they were investigating the case. “Dhirubhai was a witness who had changed his statement before police several times. He was questioned like any other person who came under the purview of investigation. Since Dhirubhai changed his statement several times, there is a reason to believe that he has not revealed something, he knew about the case.”
He added that Dhirubhai might have been under influence of someone to change his statement.
“We are probing if he was changing his statement so often under somebody’s influence, whether a policeman or someone else. Right now it is a case of an accidental death and our investigation is on,” Trivedi said.
In the Patidar woman’s rape and murder case, police have so far arrested one person and the investigation is still on.
Following pressure from various quarters like Patidar groups and Opposition parties, Gujarat government had appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by an Inspector General (IG)-rank officer, to investigate the case.