The lawyer of Sohrabuddin Shaikh’s brother Rubabuddin on Wednesday pointed to the “integral role” of Dinesh M N, the Superintendent of Police in Udaipur during the alleged fake encounter, and told the court that while the officer got discharged from the CBI court in the case, his juniors who were allegedly part of his team were not given a discharge. The court was hearing three applications filed by Rubabuddin challenging the discharge of former deputy inspector-general of Gujarat D G Vanzara, Rajasthan IPS officer Dinesh M N and Gujarat IPS officer Rajkumar Pandiyan, along with two applications filed by the CBI challenging the discharge of Rajasthan Police constable Dalpat Singh Rathod and Gujarat police officer N K Amin.
Rubabuddin’s lawyer Gautam Tiwari of Probus Legal continued his arguments over the discharge of Dinesh. One of the reasons for the CBI court discharging him on August 1, 2017, was that the agency had failed to get sanction or special permission to prosecute him.
Dinesh’s involvement is suspected in the alleged fake encounters of both Sohrabuddin and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati. He allegedly travelled on November 24, 2005, from Udaipur to Ahmedabad for the alleged encounter of Sohrabuddin on November 26. He was allegedly accompanied by three junior officers of Rajasthan police, including Rehman Abdul Khan.
“The discharge application of Khan was rejected by the CBI court, which granted discharge to Dinesh M N. Khan was the one to file an FIR soon after the incident (Sohrabuddin’s alleged encounter) and the one to inform his colleagues in Rajasthan where to arrest Prajapati from…. The roles of Khan and Dinesh are identical,” Tiwari said. Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, who is hearing the revision application, asked if Khan’s application was rejected before or after Dinesh was discharged. “Khan’s application was rejected on July 25, 2017, while Dinesh was discharged on August 1 the same year,” Tiwari said.
Tiwari informed the court that the police were after Sohrabuddin and Prajapati in connection with the Hamid Lala murder case in Udaipur on December 31, 2004. Pointing to the statement of the investigating officer (IO) in the case, Tiwari said it clearly showed that the team that went from Rajasthan to Gujarat had no intention of arresting Sohrabuddin. “The IO in the Hamid Lala case clearly said he was not informed or taken to arrest Shaikh who was a suspect in Lala’s killing. If they had any intention of arresting him (Shaikh), they would have at least taken the case record in the event they needed to seek his transit remand from Gujarat to Rajasthan,” Tiwari pointed out.
Relying on the statements of Dinesh’s seniors, Tiwari said Dinesh did not follow the official procedure to seek permission to travel to Gujarat with the intention of arresting Sohrabuddin. His superior was informed just before his departure that he would be leaving for Gujarat and then only an “oral permission” was sought from him, said Tiwari.
The statement of the officer who kept Dinesh’s records was further referred to in an attempt to show that Dinesh was present at the encounter of Sohrabuddin. “The record of the record keeper confirms that encounter took place with Dinesh present at the incident,” said Tiwari. In the case of Prajapati’s alleged encounter, the statement of a police officer in Rajasthan was relied upon to show that while Prajapati was arrested on November 26, 2005, after Sohrabuddin’s encounter, the officials were given instructions not to show his arrest till two to three days later, besides being told that Prajapati would be examined by Dinesh only. His arrest was eventually shown on November 29, 2005.
Meanwhile, statements of inmates of Udaipur Jail was relied upon to show how Prajapati’s nephew and friend were implicated in a false case after they went to meet him in jail. Prajapati had written to the National Human Rights Commission, raising concerns over a threat to his life from the Gujarat and Rajasthan police. “It is an institutional failure that his life could not be safeguarded. The complaint made to the NHRC was forwarded to Dinesh to investigate,” said Tiwari. He also said that while Prajapati was given heavy police protection in earlier instances when he travelled to Ahmedabad, on the day of the alleged encounter, he had only four police escorts to take him from Udaipur to Ahmedabad in connection with a criminal case on December 26, 2006.
Sohrabuddin, an alleged gangster who, the Gujarat police claimed had “links with the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba” and his wife Kausarbi were allegedly abducted by Gujarat ATS from Hyderabad on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra and killed in an alleged fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005. Prajapati was allegedly killed by police officers at Chapri village in the Banaskantha district of Gujarat in December 2006.