A chief investigating officer in the alleged 2006 fake encounter case of Tulsiram Prajapati on Wednesday claimed that Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah and three senior police officers – DG Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandiyan and Dinesh MN – were the “principal conspirators” in Prajapati’s killing, The Indian Express reported.
Prajapati was the sole witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case in November 2005. He was in police custody after the incident but was shot dead in an encounter in December 2006, when the police claimed he tried to escape. He was being taken back to Udaipur jail after a court hearing in Ahmedabad when the incident took place.
Sandeep Tamgadge took over the investigation in 2012. He had filed a supplementary chargesheet in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case and the main chargesheet in the Prajapati case.
Tamgadge, in his testimony before the Central Bureau of Investigation court in Mumbai, claimed there was a “politician-criminal-police nexus” and that Prajapati’s death was part of this nexus. He alleged that Shah, then the home minister of Gujarat, and Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria had a nexus with criminals, including Prajapati and Sheikh. The ministers had used Prajapati and Sheikh to fire at the office of an Ahmedabad-based builder in 2004, he said.
Shah, Kataria and other top IPS officers were discharged from the case between 2014 and 2017 for lack of evidence. Currently, those facing trial include 21 lower-rung police officers and the owner of a farmhouse where Sheikh and his wife Kausarbi were allegedly confined after being kidnapped from a bus on November 23, 2005.
Tamgadge told the court that he had collected the call detail records of Shah, Vanzara, former Gujarat IPS officer Vipul Agrawal, former Andhra Pradesh police officer Srinivasa Rao and Police Sub-Inspector (Gujarat) Ashish Pandya, The Hindu reported. These call records prove a larger conspiracy, he claimed.
Tamgadge said he had recorded statements of Shah, Kataria and others, but their statements were not filed in the chargesheet. Defence lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan filed a petition seeking to bring the statements recorded by the CBI. The plea will be heard on Thursday.
On Monday, the former chief investigating officer Amitabh Thakur of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case alleged that Amit Shah and four senior police officers had benefitted politically and monetarily from the case. Thakur, however, said he had no material evidence to “show the persons who were political beneficiaries”.