The state Crime Investigation Department (CID) on Saturday arrived in Vadodara along with the six suspended policemen from Vadodara, who are accused in an alleged case of custodial death in Fatehgunj police station in December 2019, and reconstructed the sequence of events.
The CID has formed a team to scout the area around Fatehgunj police station for CCTV cameras that could have captured Babu Sheikh Nisar (65) walking out of the police station or in its vicinity after being “released” as claimed by the six accused officers.
The six policemen who were arrested on September 2, according to the CID, have maintained that they had set the victim free after questioning him through the day. The CID has formed a team of officers who are now searching for CCTV cameras in the area that can lend clue to whether the claims of the accused officers are true. The six policemen are the then police inspector of Fatehgunj police station D B Gohil, police sub-inspector D M Rabari and Lok Rakshak Dal jawans Pankaj Mavjibhai, Yogendra Jilansinh, Rajiv Savjibhai and Hitesh Shambubhai.
CID Superintendent of Police Girish Pandya told this newspaper, “The six policemen have maintained their claim that they allowed the victim to walk free after questioning him for the alleged theft. They have said they had picked him up from the TP-13 area (in Chhani) in Vadodara for questioning in a case of theft. However, there is no substantial evidence to show that they let him go. Although they made a B Roll entry in the station diary stating his release, the station officer of that day has said that Rabari did not hand over any copy of the statement of the missing victim, which is mandatory.”
“We have only one CCTV footage of the missing victim at the bus stop in the morning of December 10 when the man had arrived in Vadodara with his son-in-law and thereafter both went separately to sell their goods. If we find any CCTV cameras that could have captured any image of him walking out of Fatehgunj police station as claimed by the policemen, we will send the cameras for forensic analysis to retrieve the footage as cameras usually only store footage up to a month. Forensic science laboratory has ways to retrieve old data,” Pandya added.
The CID has sent the hard drive of a computer of the Fatehgunj police station to the FSL to retrieve the soft copy of the complaint of theft filed by Chhani resident Satish Thakkar that Rabari is said to have destroyed after Nisar’s death. “They had typed the complaint but never uploaded the FIR, according to investigation so we are trying to retrieve the past documents with help of FSL,” Pandya said. The CID will conduct searches in the homes of the six policemen on Sunday as well as look into the role of other officers who were attached to the Fatehgunj police station on the day of the alleged crime. The six officers are in the custody of the CID until noon of September 11 and the CID is expected to seek an extension of their remand given that the body of the deceased is yet to be recovered.
“Recovery of the body after the reconstruction of how they disposed of the body is a crucial part of the probe. Since they are claiming that they left him after questioning, we have not been able to reconstruct the disposal of the body. We will seek an extension in the remand, if needed,” Pandya said. Nisar had reportedly gone missing after he was apprehended by the Fatehgunj police on suspicion of theft.