A special CBI court in Ahmedabad on Tuesday discharged two policemen accused in the Sadiq Jamal Mehtar encounter case of 2003, observing that there was nothing on record to support allegations of their involvement, marking the first discharge in the case.
According to the CBI, the accused policemen — RL Mavani and Ajayapalsingh Siyaram Yadav — were part of the “encounter team and present at the spot of encounter”. The court said that they were part of a “disciplined force, where seniors are not accustomed to hear ‘no’ from the mouth of staff on duty”.
The two accused were facing charges of criminal conspiracy, wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement, kidnapping or abducting in order to murder, kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person, murder and abetment when offence was committed.
Discharging Mavani and Yadav, the court said, “…There is nothing on record to support the allegations of involvement of these two applicants from start to finish… If there is nothing on record with regard to the presence and involvement of present applicants then they cannot be taken as conspirators. There is nothing to show that they have committed any overt act with knowledge or have tacitly consented to the object of detention and killing of Sadik…”
The court relied on 50 prosecution witnesses’ statements as well as the FIR filed by the crime branch in the case. The FIR noted that J G Parmar (then police inspector, who later died) fired five rounds and A I Saiyed (then police inspector) fired six rounds on Sadiq.
“As per the FIR, these two applicants (Mavani and Yadav) have done nothing during these crossfires. It has not been investigated that at that time, these two applicants were armed with weapons or not… Their mere presence at the place of encounter, that too, on obeying the order of senior officer, is not sufficient to charge them for murder…,” noted special CBI Judge Bharat Ambalal Dave.
Sadiq (28), from Bhavnagar, was killed on the intervening night of January 12 and 13, 2003, at Naroda near Galaxy Cinema, after an intelligence input forwarded by the Gujarat Police linked him to Salim Chiplun, an aide of gangsters Anees Ibrahim (gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s brother) and gangster Chhota Shakeel.
The alert said that “Dubai-based” Sadiq was sent by terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba to kill then deputy prime minister LK Advani, then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and VHP leader Pravin Togadia.