The CBI team probing the Sadiq Jamal Mehtar fake encounter case has got leads that could question the intelligence gathering mechanism of the Gujarat Police in 2002-03,especially in the Haren Pandya murder case that happened within two and a half months of the Sadiq encounter.
Sadiq was killed on January 13,2003,while Pandya,a former MoS (Home),was killed on March 26,2003.
In the case of Sadiq,the CBI has evidence of detailed intelligence inputs on him shared with the police by the IB. The CBIs probe shows this encounter to be a joint operation of the IB and police officials of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The intelligence input claimed Sadiq to be trained by the Lashkar-e-Toiba and sent on a mission to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi,VHP leader Pravin Togadia and then deputy prime minister L K Advani.
However,the agency is finding it strange that the same intelligence mechanism failed to save Pandya who was killed nearly 70 days after Sadiq and then acted promptly to foil a terror plot targeting Modi in 2004 when Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed. The CBI is dissecting the ISI conspiracy theory of the Ahmedabad crime branch under its then DCP and now suspended IPS officer and prime accused in encounter cases,D G Vanzara.
The case famously called ISI conspiracy case was an umbrella case covering five crimes,including tiffin bombings,Pandya murder and others,as riot reprisal events planned by the ISI,after which the crime branch began rounding up suspects on the ground that they wanted to avenge post-Godhra killings of 2002.
During the questioning of suspended ADGP P P Pandey,who is in Sabarmati jail in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case,the CBI tried to get to the bottom of how the police,which killed alleged terrorists in encounters based on intelligence inputs,either failed to get intelligence on Pandyas killing or failed to act on it.
A CBI officer said,We are probing the details of terror conspiracy theory to get to the roots of the intelligence inputs that claimed a terror attack on political bigwigs in Gujarat. The police claimed that post 2002,the fear of jehadi attack was high and in the same period a minister was killed. However,neither was there any jehadi involvement in his case nor in the encounter cases; the truth of intel inputs lies in terror conspiracy operation.
Pandey,who was joint commissioner and chief of crime branch in 2002,worked closely with Vanzara on this alleged terror conspiracy. Pandey reportedly told the CBI that the assistance of Intelligence Bureau was sought after the crime branch got into action in this terror operation. The Gujarat unit of IB was then led by director Rajinder Kumar,who was recently questioned in Delhi in the Sadiq encounter case and has been questioned earlier in Ishrat encounter case.
The CBI officer said,Pandya was killed hardly after two months and a half of Sadiqs encounter about whom the Gujarat police had received input two months prior,indicating that Gujarat ministers were at risk. This shows that the police and intelligence officials were in the loop about the threat to Pandya but could not foil his murder plot despite intelligence gathering as well as watch on movements of suspects whereas in the case of police encounters,it claimed they foiled terror bids.
The CBI is gearing up to question then ACP (crime) G L Singhal who was a part of the team led by Vanzara.