Police Inspector arrested in Prajapati encounter case

Ahmedabad: Police Inspector Ashish Pandya, an accused in the Tulsi Prajapati encounter of 2006, who was absconding, was today arrested in Rajkot, CID officials said.

Pandya, who was a sub-inspector at the time of encounter, was promoted last month to the rank of inspector and transferred to Rajkot Anti-corruption Bureau. He was declared an absconder by the CID after the investigating agency could not trace him, as he had not joined his duty in Rajkot.

Pandya reported for duty today at the ACB office in Rajkot, following which he was arrested, the officials said.

It was Pandya who had fired the bullet that killed Prajapati, a key witness in the 2005 fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and alleged murder of his wife Kausar Bi.

According to CID, Prajapati was killed in an encounter near Chapri village near Ambaji in Banaskantha district when he tried to escape from custody while being shifted from Rajasthan to Gujarat in December 2006.

Investigating officer in the case R K Patel said that out of the twelve accused in the case, seven have been arrested including Pandya.

As Pandya had gone on sick leave without submitting any documents about his health, an internal inquiry was ordered against him.

Early this month, CID crime had arrested IPS officer Vipul Agarawl who was Banaskantha SP during the time of encounter, from Ahmedabad, Jathubha Solanki from Patan and Vinod Limbachiya from Palanpur.

The trio have been booked on charges of criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and murder.

Three constables who are accused in the case -- Karansinh Sisodia, Kanji Kutchi and Kiransinh Chauhan -- were arrested from Siddhpur in Patan. All six are presently in CID custody.

In January this year, the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin was handed over to the CBI by the Supreme Court.

CBI had sought papers of Tulsi Prajapati case from the state police, saying that his encounter was linked with that of Sohrabuddin.

However, the state police denied handing over the documents saying that SC had asked CBI to investigate only the Sohrabuddin case and Prajapati case is being investigated by state CID crime.