In a new twist in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case,the CBI is probing whether one of the officers investigating the fake encounter hatched a plot to extort money from senior policemen accused in the case.
According to sources,one of the two men arrested by the agency for posing as CBI men in September 2011 had confessed to this,claiming he himself was connected to the officer concerned. The two men,Ashwani Kumar Sharma and Rajesh Ranjan,had been arrested from Mumbai while trying to extort money from filmmaker Rakesh Roshan.
CBI sources say that while investigating Sharma and Ranjan,its Special Crime Branch found evidence that the two had managed to convince policemen accused in the Sohrabuddin case to give them money,promising to help them get out of the case. However,there is no evidence yet of a deal having been struck.
According to sources,one of the impostors has claimed that a CBI officer from Mumbai who he is related to and who was part of the fake encounter investigations was behind the extortion plan.
A CBI officer said,There are allegations that the officer had used the conmen to extort money from Sohrabuddin accused. We are probing this link and this is one reason for the delay. But though we have questioned the concerned officers,so far nothing concrete has been found.
Proof has reportedly been found of Sharma and Ranjan visiting the Sabarmati Central jail in Ahmedabad on fake CBI identity cards to meet the case accused. Sources said they were operating through a middleman,whom the CBI is now looking for and who is believed to be in Dubai.
According to sources,there were several meetings between Sharma and suspended IPS officer Abhay Chudasama at Nadiad sub-jail,where he is lodged,followed by meetings with D G Vanzara,Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh M N in Sabarmati jail.
Sharma,who belongs to Haryana,and Ranjan from Bihar had made fake cards and identity proofs to pose as CBI officers and travelled in cars with beacon. They are believed to have stayed in Gujarat for three months,shuttling between Ahmedabad,Surat and Rajkot.
Apart from the Sohrabuddin accused,the CBI says,several rich businessmen,builders and traders of Gujarat had fallen in their net.