Amit Shah, Gujarat's former minister of state for home, and over half a dozen IPS officers, including former CID (crime) chief O P Mathur, are among 20 people chargesheeted by the CBI for their roles in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case of 2006.
Considered to be one of the favourite cops of chief minister Narendra Modi, Mathur and former state police chief P C Pande, are accused of derailing the probe in the case. Mathur has been charged for culpable homicide amounting to murder, conspiracy and destruction of evidence, among others.
Officers of CID (crime) Geetha Johri and investigating officer R K Patel have also been charged with criminal conspiracy, murder, and destruction of evidence. They had investigated the fake encounter before the probe was handed over to the CBI.
Besides Shah, the chargesheet includes names four cops – IPS officers D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian, Dinesh MN and a police inspector from Rajasthan Abdul Rehman Shaikh – who are already behind bars in Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
CBI views Tulsiram’s killing as an effort to eliminate a witness to Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauserbi’s killings in 2005. Shah was arrested on July 25, 2010 in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. He was given bail on October 29 the same year. The Supreme Court has barred him from entering Gujarat after the CBI challenged his bail. The probe agency moved a magisterial court in Danta in Banaskantha to file the chargesheet against the 20 people. Tulsiram was allegedly killed by Gujarat and Rajasthan cops at Chhapri village near Ambaji in Banaskantha on December 28, 2006.
Tulsiram’s encounter took place two weeks after the investigating officer in the Sohrabuddin encounter case, V L Solanki, sought permission from Johri to interrogate Tulsiram at Udaipur central jail. Johri, allegedly, at the instance of her superiors, denied permission to Solanki.
Mathur’s role came under scanner after a former investigator, Rajnish Rai, wrote to Johri in mid-2007 requesting her to collect a vital piece of evidence – a CD – from then CID (crime) head. Rai claimed he had submitted the CD to Mathur – the evidence never came on record.
Rai also highlighted the fact before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) how Mathur and Pande tried to sabotage the probe. His file notings revealed how Pande tried to change the action taken reports meant to be sent to the apex court in the encounter cases.