The investigations into the Ode killings were marked by constantly changing investigating officials and the basic challenge of establishing that 23 people had indeed been killed.
The killings were first investigated by sub-inspector R G Patel of Khambholaj police station in Anand district,under whose jurisdiction Ode falls. He was transferred to Ahmedabad as an inspector and was suspended in 2009,after a hooch tragedy with 157 deaths blew into a scandal that exposed a nexus between policemen and bootleggers.
Till the Special Investigation Team took over,the state police had already arrested 46 accused,of whom 23 have been released.
To establish that 23 people had been killed,about Rs 16 to 20 lakh was spent on digging the areas where the remains were allegedly disposed of,but no evidence was found. When the SIT took over the case in 2008,the challenge was to find evidence of homicide. The complainant had claimed that the victims last remains were thrown into a step-well and another well in the locality. The SIT tried to drain the whole step-well for eight days and brought officials from the irrigation department. The exercise went on for more than a week but nothing was found, said a former investigating official.
The SIT later appointed Girsh H Patel,DySP,as IO. He retired midway through the probe and DySP Himanshu Pathak took charge.
The day the complaint was filed by Rafiq Khalifa,then assistant sub-inspector Bhimsinh P Raulji registered the FIR. When Gulam Rasool Saiyed,80,was burnt alive,no fresh FIR was lodged. According to the victims family,separate cases were filed on March 1 and March 2 but the police registered only one FIR,a matter that remains controversial.