BJP president Amit Shah and IPS officers Dinesh M N, Rajkumar Pandiyan and D G Vanzara were the “principal conspirators” in the alleged fake encounter of Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat in 2006, a chief investigating officer of the case told a special court on Wednesday.
Sandeep Tamgadge, who investigated and supervised the case from April 2012, also said that there was a “politician-criminal” nexus, and named Amit Shah and Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria as the alleged “politicians” who had “used criminals” —- Sohrabuddin Shaikh, Tulsiram and Azam Khan —- to fire at the office of Popular Builders in 2004.
Shah, Kataria, Dinesh M N, Pandiyan and Vanzara —- who were all named as accused in the case —- were discharged by the trial court between 2014 and 2017.
Tamgadge also claimed that Call Data Records (CDRs) of the accused had established their conspiracy to commit the offence.
During cross-examination, the officer agreed to the suggestion that CDRs are one of the best evidence to determine a person’s location at a particular time. Asked whether any of the CDRs collected during the probe had established conspiracy, Tamgadge responded in the affirmative.
When defence lawyers asked him to name people whose CDRs established the conspiracy, Tamgadge said, “The CDRs of (Amit) Shah, Dinesh MN, Vanzara, Pandiyan, Vipul Agarwal, Ashish Pandya, N H Dabhi, G S Rao.”
Of them, Pandya, Dabhi and Rao continue to face trial; the others have been discharged for lack of evidence. The CBI had included calls between these men, before and after the alleged offence, in its chargesheet. The trial court, while discharging the accused, had said there was insufficient evidence against them.
Tulsiram was killed on December 28, 2006, in Gujarat after Rajasthan Police officials claimed that he had escaped from custody while being taken back to Udaipur jail from a court hearing in Ahmedabad. The CBI maintains that Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram ran an extortion racket in connivance with policemen and politicians. According to the probe agency, a conspiracy was hatched to abduct Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausarbi, and Tulsiram on November 23, 2005.
While Sohrabuddin was subsequently shown to have been killed in an allegedly staged encounter on November 26, 2005, Kausarbi was also murdered, according to the CBI chargesheet.
On Wednesday, Tamgadge told the court that when he took over the probe in April 2012, his predecessors had completed a substantial part of the Sohrabuddin case. He said he had recorded statements of Kataria and Vimal Patni, a marble businessman in Rajasthan.
When defence lawyer Wahab Khan asked whether evidence was destroyed or suppressed against them, since both are discharged, the court did not allow the question, stating that it did not pertain to Khan’s client —- Rajasthan Police officer Abdul Rehman.
Khan questioned Tamgadge on the alleged escape of Tulsiram, claiming that Rehman was not part of the police team escorting him. Tamgadge said that while he was not part of the team that particular day, he had a role to play as a conspirator. He told the court that Rehman and then Udaipur Superintendent of Police, Dinesh M N, who was in charge of assigning escort duty, were conspirators.
The trial court had discharged Dinesh last year and Bombay High Court upheld the order in September.
Tamgadge also told the court that he had recorded the statements of BJP president Amit Shah, Kataria and Patni as accused but the court said that they were not part of the record. Khan filed a plea seeking for those to be brought on record by the CBI. The court will decide on the plea on Thursday.