Govt submits "confidential" info in Haren Pandya case to HC



Govt submits Ahmedabad: The State government on Friday submitted a document in a sealed cover to Gujarat High Court, claiming that it contained "confidential" information about the 2003 Haren Pandya murder case, in which 12 persons were convicted four years ago.

The document was submitted to the division bench of Justices R R Tripathi and P P Bhatt (which is hearing appeals by those convicted in the murder case) by the Additional Advocate General, Tushar Mehta.

Mehta said the document was a new development in connection with the case, and court could consider it while hearing the appeals.

Government Pleader P K Jani said that division bench had not yet opened the sealed cover and read the document, which would be in the custody of High Court registry. Court might open it during the hearing on appeals if deemed necessary, he said.

Next date of hearing is yet to be notified.

This move by the state government assumes significance, as Jagruti, wife of the late former minister, Pandya, had written a letter to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi last year requesting him to seek a re-investigation by CBI.

Referring to statement of one of the witnesses in Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case -- Azam Khan -- to the CBI, Pandya's wife had said in the letter she believed there was a link between her husband's murder and the fake encounter.

In her letter of September 2, 2010, Jagruti requested Modi to ask CBI to re-investigate the murder, to find out who had ordered the assassination, and the reasons.

One of the main accused in the Sohrabuddin case, suspended IPS officer D G Vanzara, had initially supervised investigation in the Pandya case, until the case was handed over to CBI.

Jagruti disagreed with CBI's finding that Pandya was killed because of his anti-Muslim views.

Haren Pandya was minister of state for Home in the Keshubhai Patel government. He was replaced by Gordhan Jhadafia after Modi was appointed as Chief Minister in 2001.

In March 2003, Pandya was murdered outside Law Garden here where he had gone for a morning walk.

The CBI arrested 15 persons out of which 12 were convicted by a special POTA court in July 2007.

PTI