A special CBI court on Thursday rejected an application moved by Shabbir, brother of Sadiq Jamal Mehtar, seeking further investigation into the encounter killing of his brother in 2003 by a team of Gujarat police officers. He had alleged that the CBI is not investigating the role of then politicians and senior police officers responsible for the encounter.
Shabbir had moved this application in 2013 days after CBI filed its first chargesheet in this case against eight policemen, including “encounter specialist” Tarun Barot, in December, 2012. Barot was reappointed as Deputy Superintendent of Police, Headquarters, Western Railway, Vadodara on a year’s contract on October 13 almost two years after his superannuation.
The special CBI judge rejected the application of Shabbir on the ground that “investigation is still going on”. In the first chargesheet, CBI had said investigation was on under section 173 (8) of CrPC. However, nearly four years have passed but CBI is yet to move court with documents suggesting further probe. Meanwhile, all the eight accused have been granted bail and reinstated by the state government.
Shabbir had contended that apart from eight policemen, who are low rank officials, there are many accused who are senior police officers and politicians equally responsible for the conspiracy to profile Sadiq as a terrorist. Besides, this is the first case of encounter in which the role of officers of Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB), Mumbai cropped up. The CBI claimed that “It was the SIB, which had termed Sadiq a terrorist “out to kill Hindu leaders”.
Sadiq, a resident of Bhavnagar who used to stay in Mumbai, was shot dead by a team of Gujarat police near Galaxy Cinema in Naroda in January 2003 in cold blood. The police had claimed that he was a Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist who was on a mission to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi, BJP leader L K Advani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi. However, the CBI investigation revealed that Sadiq was killed in staged encounter and he was already in police custody.
CBI investigation is silent on various other aspects, including the role of Mumbai-based former journalist Ketan Tirodkar. Tirodkar had filed an affidavit in Mumbai that had spilled the beans in the case who had claimed that Sadiq was handed over to Gujarat police led by Barot allegedly by officials of Mumbai police. The further investigation is supposed to unravel these mysteries.
In the special court, CBI vehemently opposed Shabbir’s application saying he has no locus standi to ask details of the progress in the case as investigation is still going on. It was also argued that there is no time limit to conclude the investigation.