The role of IPS officer Rajkumar Pandian,now in jail in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter,was small but critical in the Tulsiram Prajapati killing,sources in the CID (Crime) told The Indian Express.
They said the CID (Crime) has also gleaned phone records of the two other IPS officers (former DIG, DG Vanzara and Rajasthan SP Dinesh MN) lodged in jail with Pandian for the same killing.
The sources added that the phone records showed that a conversation between Vanzara and Dinesh clearly underlined that Pandian was tracking Prajapatis cellphone locations.
A senior CID (Crime) officer said: Rajkumar Pandian was asked by Dinesh MN to trace Prajapatis location just a few days before the encounter. Pandian started tracking Prajapatis phone and also kept tabs on his mobile service provider to get full details of his calls.
The CID added that Prajapati had switched off his phone a week before the encounter as he believed the Gujarat Police was after him.
The officer added: Pandian had managed to trace Prajapatis location once but before he could reach him,the latter had fled. After Prajapatis phone remained switched off continuously,Pandian gave up and reported to Dinesh MN that Prajapati was untraceable.
The sources said Pandians role came to light when Dinesh MNs number was found in Dahod SP Vipul Aggarwals phone records at the time of the Prajapati encounter. After Dinesh MNs name cropped up,the CID began probing the other accused in the Sohrabuddin case,Vanzara,Amin and Pandian.
An officer said: After Vipul Agarwals call details were checked,his conversations with Dinesh MN and Vanzara were also traced. Vanzara and Dinesh were instructing Aggarwal on every development in the Prajapati encounter. Pandians role was small but crucial because when he had almost traced Prajapatis location,the Rajasthan Police had sent their men to pick up Prajapati,except that he had fled from the spot by then.
The CID had also sought phone records of state cadre officers from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited after it was found that the records the previous probe handed over to them were tampered with.
Sources said the CID is also likely to seek the custody of Vanzara and Dinesh MN. We are planning to seek their custody,but have not a taken a final decision on it. We have been wanting to get Vanzara and Dinesh MN on a transfer warrant for a long time,but there was no clear fix on their role. Their roles,including that of Pandian,are now clear, they added.
The Banaskantha Special Operations Group (SOG) had gunned down Prajapati at Chapri village in Ambaji in Banaskantha in December 2006. Vanzara was the Border Range DIG at that time and Aggarwal was the SP of Banaskantha. The CID has arrested another police officer Ashish Pandya,who was with the Banaskantha SOG at that time,along with five other constables serving in the unit.
The CID will begin interrogating Pandian this week,a CID officer added.