HC orders CBI inquiry in Mehtar encounter case
Ahmedabad: In a setback to Gujarat Police, the state high court on Thursday ordered a CBI inquiry in the 2003 Sadiq Jamal Mehtar encounter case.
Justice MR Shah ordered the transfer of investigation from the city crime branch to the CBI on a petition by Sadiq's brother Shabbir Jamal Mehtar.
The court said the encounter involved high ranking police officials of Gujarat and if the probe is transferred to the STF, there could be apprehensions of bias in investigations.
Therefore, a probe by an independent agency like CBI is required, it said.
The court however, categorically stated that the judgement in no way doubts the credibility of state police. Sadiq was allegedly killed in Naroda area of the city on January 13, 2003, by the city crime branch. The encounter allegedly involved suspended IPS officer DG Vanzara, who is also one of the prime accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
The court also rejected the plea of the Gujarat government to transfer probe in the matter to the Special Task Force (STF), constituted by the state to inquire into police encounter cases.
The court further observed that no formal complaint was filed in the killing of Sadiq and only a summary report was filed by police. Besides, no investigation was conducted with regard to his death, it said.
In 2003, after the encounter, the crime branch had claimed that they had intelligence inputs that Sadiq was a noted criminal in the league of persons like Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel and had planned to kill BJP leader LK Advani, Chief Minister Narendra Modi and VHP leader Pravin Togadia.
However, Shabbir alleged that his brother's encounter by Gujarat Police was a fake one.
In his petition demanding CBI probe, he claimed that his brother was not a terrorist and alleged that the plot to kill his brother was a 'cold-blooded murder' and a 'conspiracy' hatched by Vanzara and IPS officer PP Pandey, who was heading the city crime branch in 2003.