A special CBI court on Tuesday granted bail to another accused policeman, now retired, in connection with the 2003 Sadiq Jamal Mehtar fake encounter case. Earlier this month, another accused cop was granted relief by the court in the same case, which is one of the three encounter cases probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Gujarat. The case also involves policemen and IB officials in Mumbai.
The special CBI judge MM Gandhi granted bail to retired Deputy Superintendent of Police KM Vaghela on the ground of parity with another accused RL Mavani, who was earlier this month granted bail in this case. The court noted that like Mavani there was no overt role played by Vaghela. Mavani was then the police sub-inspector while Vaghela was the police inspector.
The CBI chargesheeted Vaghela and Mavani along with six other policemen for allegedly killing Sadiq in a stage managed encounter in January 2003 in the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The policemen team was part of Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) which reportedly got information that Sadiq was a member of Lashkar-e-Toiba operative, who wanted to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi, VHP leader Pravin Togadia among others. Following the incident Sadiq’s brother Shabir had moved Gujarat High Court that directed the CBI to investigate the encounter case in 2011.
“The court has held that Vaghela hasn’t played any overt act in the alleged incident. He was not aware about Sadiq being brought from Mumbai and his role is not there since the beginning. He was part of the team without having significant role, ” said lawyer Virat Popat, who appeared for Vaghela in the court.
In this case retired DySP Tarun Barot is also an accused who is lodged at Nadiad jail. Barot had also moved application for bail before the same court which was recently rejected. He has moved Gujarat High Court where the matter is pending. He is alleged to have brought Sadiq from Mumbai from the custody of Mumbai police days before he was gunned down in Ahmedabad.