Sohrabuddin case probe: Guj govt allotted plot to IPS
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 17, 2009, 20:38
New Delhi: Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam on Thursday alleged in the Supreme Court that a senior IPS officer in Gujarat was allotted a plot of land by the state government after she took over supervision of the probe into Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter killing.

Subramaniam, who is an amicus curaie (friend of the court) in the matter, told a bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and Aftab Alam that Inspector General of Police Geeta Johri was alloted the land in Gandhinagar a few days after she took over supervision of investigations into the killings.

He presented an order purportedly issued by Gujarat government on July 1, 2006, allotting a piece of plot to Johri.

According to Subramaniam, Johri had taken over investigations into the case from June 27, 2006, and the plot was alloted to her on July 1, 2006.

Subramaniam's remarks drew protests from senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Gujarat government, who described the charge as "most unfortunate."

Sohrabuddin, his wife Kauser Bi and another person were killed in a fake encounter by the Anti-Terrorists Squad of Gujarat police comprising some top police officials of the state.

Outside the court, Geeta Johri termed the allegations "ridiculous" and intended to "defame" her.

"It was not just me. Every police personnel in the state right from a constable has been alloted land by the government. I and my husband, who is an IFS officer, have been allotted a 330 sq yard of land. In fact, both of us were entitled to 330 sq yard each but since we are a couple, we had been given only a joint plot of 330 sq yards," she said.

Earlier, during the two arguments on behalf of the state government, Rohtagi strongly opposed any move to transfer the investigations to CBI or any other investigating agency as demanded by Rubabuddin Sheikh, brother of Sohrabuddin, and Subramaniam.

Interpreting Section 173(8) of the CrPC, Rohtagi said the power to order further investigation vested with the magistrate concerned and the since the chargesheet and supplementary chargesheet had already been filed, there was no need for any change of the probe agency.

He argued the investigations under Geeta Johri had shown "commendable progress" resulting in the arrest of several top police officers involved in the killings.

The counsel submitted narco analysis on the accused police officers had not been conducted so far as the state government believed that it should be always done with the consent of the accused.

Moreover, he pointed out the validity and evidentiary value of narco analysis is under the scrutiny of a constitution bench of the Supreme Court which had reserved its judgement.

Rohtagi, however, admitted the investigation was yet to unearth the manner in which Kauser Bi was killed, though the sleuths were able to establish the culpability of the accused police officers in cremating her body after killing her.

However, at one stage, the bench remarked that the Gujarat government's stand with regard to the identity of the third person presumed to be one Tulsiram Prajapati was "mutually contradictory."

The bench pointed out that the state government had been claiming that the third person killed in the encounter was Kaleemuddin and not Tulsiram Prajapati as alleged by the petitioners.

"But when we ask you what happened to Kaleemuddin, you say he is non-existent," the bench said.

Rohtagi denied there was any contradiction and said Tulsiram, who is presumed to be killed along with the couple, and Kaleemuddin are two different persons.

Sohrabuddin, along with his wife Kauser Bi and Prajapati, was picked in a joint operation by the police of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh from a bus on their way from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra on Novemeber 22, 2005.

Besides the AP police the role of Rajasthan police has also figured during the investigations.

Three senior police officers D G Banjara (DIG), Raj Kumar Pandiyan (SP), both of Gujarat cadre, and Dinesh M N of Rajasthan cadre are among the accused. All of them are in judicial custody.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, September 17, 2009, 20:38

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