CBI finds common link in Haren Pandya murder,Ishrat encounter

These three incidents occurred within one and a half years — from January 2003 to June 2004

Written by Satish Jha | Ahmedabad | Published:August 15, 2013 3:15 am

The CBI has reportedly found that three men are common to cases pertaining to the assassination of BJP leader Haren Pandya and the encounters of Ishrat Jahan and three others,and Sadiq Jamal Mehtar.

These three incidents occurred within one and a half years — from January 2003 to June 2004. Three men,identified as C1,C2 and Javabhai,who played crucial roles in the encounter of Ishrat Jahan and disappeared afterwards,as per the CBI chargesheet,are suspected to have played Intelligence Bureau decoys who brought the victims to Gujarat.

As per CBI sources,C1 and C2,also identified as Asad and Owaish,were rounded up as suspects and detained for the murder of Haren Pandya in 2003. The CBI doesn’t have exact information about the duo,but has confirmed that they are Gujaratis and right now “untraceable”.

Their names figured in the statement of police inspector Bharat A Patel,who described them as “sources of accused IPS officer G L Singhal”,who was then the assistant commissioner of police at the Detection of Crime Branch,Ahmedabad. The CBI chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan case stated that Singhal handed over C1 and C2 to Rajinder Kumar.

“The duo were sent to Pakistan for a covert operation by the then joint director,Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau,Rajinder Kumar. They were trained by the LeT and came back as double agents. Our investigation has revealed that they are from Gujarat,but we don’t know what happened to them,” said a source. Apparently,they passed on information about Zeeshan Johar and Amjadali Rana,alleged Pakistanis killed in the Ishrat encounter,having entered India for a terror strike in Gujarat via Jammu and Kashmir. According to investigators,the duo were used as decoys for bringing Johar to Gujarat to be handed over to the IB officials.

The CBI is not clear about Rana. Sources said that Rana met Javed Sheikh and Ishrat Jahan in Uttar Pradesh. The CBI suspects that Rana was an LeT operative. He has been described in statements annexed to the chargesheet as using a satellite phone and wanting to buy a country-made pistol from UP. Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai,Ishrat and Rana apparently stayed at Hotel Mezban in Lucknow.

Javabhai’s name figures in the statement of Javed’s widow Sajeda’s second husband,Asif Iqbal Sheikh. The CBI has evidence indicating that Javabhai was an “informer” for an assistant central Intelligence officer (ACIO) based in Mumbai in 2003,who has since retired,and whose name figures in Sadiq Jamal Mehtar encounter case. Sadiq was killed on January 13,2003. The CBI,which is probing this case,suspects a major role of intelligence officials.

As per Asif’s statement,Javabhai and Javed used to run a company,Al Rehman Enterprises,in Mumbai,supplying manpower to Dubai-based companies. Asif said that when he asked Javabhai whether he had any role in Javed’s encounter,“he didn’t want to talk about it”. Since then Javabhai has been missing. CBI sources said ,Javabhai called Javed when he was in Kerala,days before the encounter,and told him to come to Ahmedabad.

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