An officer of the Gujarat Police on Saturday claimed the Central Bureau of Investigation had framed him in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case. A special CBI court had discharged Rajkumar Pandian (pictured above) in the case in 2016.

The officer has an “unimpeachable” record, and when he was with the Intelligence Bureau, he had had taken on gangster Dawood Ibrahim and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, his lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani told the Bombay High Court, according to PTI.

The Gujarat Police allegedly abducted Sohrabuddin – suspected to be a gangster with terror links – his wife Kausarbi and aide Tulsiram Prajapati on the night of November 22, 2005, when they were travelling from Hyderabad to Sangli in a private bus. The CBI has alleged that the police brought the three to Ahmedabad and later shot them dead in a staged encounter.

“According to the prosecution case, the abduction took place between November 22 and November 23,” The Indian Express quoted Jethmalani as saying. “They have tried to prove that he [Pandiyan] never left on the flight to fit him in the time slot of the abduction and make a fabricated case against him.”

The senior lawyer alleged that several witnesses who testified on behalf of the prosecutors had given contradictory statements. “Nathuba Jadeja, one of the drivers of the vehicle [in which the three were allegedly brought to Ahmedabad], said the car was silver,” Pandian’s counsel said. “But in his statement before the Gujarat CID in 2005, Gurdayal Singh, who was Pandian’s driver, said it was a light blue car.”

In its chargesheet, the CBI quoted Singh as saying that the vehicle’s colour was light blue, Jethmalani claimed. “That is because even in fabricating evidence, the CBI did a shoddy job,” the lawyer told the court. “It merely copy-pasted Singh’s statement to the CID in 2005 without realising that it would contradict the CBI’s own story.”

The Supreme Court had asked the agency to fill in the gaps in the Gujarat CID’s investigation, Jethmalani argued. “But the CBI went ahead and forged documents and fabricated evidence to suit its case,” he said. On Thursday, the lawyer had argued that a “politically motivated” CBI had cooked up the fake encounter story.

New judge to hear case

Meanwhile, a new single-judge bench will hear the petitions challenging the discharge of senior Indian Police Services officers in the case, PTI reported on Saturday. Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, who was dealing with the petitions, will now hear matters concerning anticipatory bail applications. Justice NW Sambre will deal with the criminal revision applications, a notice the court issued said.

Justice Mohite-Dere was hearing the revision petitions that Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin filed, challenging the discharge of IPS officers DG Vanzara, Dinesh MN and Rajkumar Pandian. The CBI, too, filed two revision applications against the discharge of former Gujarat IPS officer NK Amin and Rajasthan Police constable Dalpat Singh Rathod.