Sohrabuddin Shaikh case: Pandiyan was not involved in abduction of Shaikh, his wife, Prajapati, says defence lawyer

It is alleged that Pandiyan was part of an Anti Terrorism Squad of Gujarat that travelled from Ahmedabad on November 20, 2005 for Hyderabad in a Qualis vehicle, reaching the city the next day.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: February 25, 2018 7:21:25 am
Pandiyan was not involved in abduction of Shaikh, his wife, Prajapati: defence Bombay High Court (Express Photo by Pradeep Kocharekar/Files)

GUJARAT IPS officer Rajkumar Pandiyan’s lawyer on Saturday told the Bombay High Court that Pandiyan was not involved in the abduction of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife and aide Tulsiram Prajapati in November 2005, and that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had “fabricated” the case against him.

“According to the prosecution case, the abduction (of Sohrabuddin, his wife and Prajapati) took place between November 22-23. They have tried to prove that he (Pandiyan) never left on the flight to fit him in the time slot when the abduction took place and made a fabricated case against him,” said senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, who is representing Pandiyan. Jethmalani said Pandiyan took a flight out of Hyderabad on November 23.

The lawyer representing Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin had argued that while there was a flight ticket booked on Pandiyan’s name from Hyderabad to Ahmedabad on the evening of November 23, 2005, the officer did not travel on that flight. Instead, constable Ajay Parmar travelled using the ticket, he has contended. He said an FSL report of May 2007 says the handwriting on a declaration card for Customs is not in the handwriting of Pandiyan, but of Parmar.

On Saturday, Jethmalani said while the declaration form on the international flight was filled out by Parmar, it could have been filled by anyone. “But on an international flight your identity is always authenticated. It is impossible for the CBI to even suggest someone else was on the flight instead of him,” he argued. He said Pandiyan’s call records show he was in Ahmedabad on November 23.

It is alleged that Pandiyan was part of an Anti Terrorism Squad of Gujarat that travelled from Ahmedabad on November 20, 2005 for Hyderabad in a Qualis vehicle, reaching the city the next day.

On November 22, 2005, Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi boarded a private luxury bus from Hyderabad, where they were visiting an associate, to go to Sangli in Maharashtra. The prosecution’s case is that the bus was chased by the police, overtaken near Zaheerabad in what was then Andhra Pradesh and Sohrabuddin, Kausarbi and their associate Prajapati abducted.

Jethmalani, meanwhile, referred to registers of Andhra Pradesh Police Officers Mess and statements of other witnesses to prove that Pandiyan stayed there from November 21 to November 23. “Witnesses have been made to change their statements by the CBI. It is not a case of improvement of statements, it is about an agency distorting the statements to contradict documentary records,” added Jethmalani.

He said Pandiyan had gone to Hyderabad on official duty to visit a bomb blast site in Hyderabad. “He is the main officer who fought Dawood Ibrahim and ISI designs on the country. It is very unfortunate that someone with such an unimpeachable prior record was implicated in such a case,” said Jethmalani.

The High Court was hearing three applications filed by Rubabuddin challenging the discharge of former Deputy Inspector General of Gujarat D G Vanzara and IPS officers Dinesh M N and 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.

Meanwhile, the assignment has changed from next week onwards. And these revision applications will be heard by Justice Nitin Sambre. With four out of the five applications having been heard by Justice Revati Mohite-Dere argument pertaining to Vanzara’s application was only pending.

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