Javed Shaikh, alias Pranesh Pillai, the man who was killed alongside Ishrat Jahan in the June 15, 2004 fake encounter, may have been an Intelligence Bureau (IB) informer, the Central Bureau of Investigation's probe has found.
Ishrat's relatives collect her body from a hospital in Ahmedabad on June 18, 2004. File photo
IB and the Ahmedabad crime branch shot dead Shaikh along with Ishrat and two other men thought by the IB to be terrorists planning a hit job on Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
A CBI source said Shaikh had been providing information on the two terror suspects - Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar - to IB's Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) unit in Gujarat.
"Pranesh Pillai was an IB informer. He was the mole in the group of four who were killed in the fake encounter," said the source.
When HT contacted CBI's spokesperson Dharini Mishra about Shaikh, she said, "Our investigations are on in the fake encounter case."
Shaikh, thought by the IB to be a Lashkar-e-Taiba logistics provider who was radicalised and inducted into the organisation during his stay in the Gulf, was a business partner of Ishrat's deceased father, and became her employer.
The source said: "Pillai was in touch with officials belonging to the SIB. We are verifying whether he spoke to some of the SIB officials before undertaking the journey to Ahmedabad in his Indica with Jahan but got intercepted near Vasad toll-booth in Gujarat three days before the fake encounter killings occurred."
The CBI chargesheet submitted on Wednesday said both Johar and Rana were picked up in Ahmedabad, in the last week of April and on May 26, 2004, respectively.
During his detention, "Amjad Ali had stated that he had come to Ahmedabad with a plan to commit a terrorist act at some crowded location in Ahmedabad," the charge sheet said.
The CBI probe has, meanwhile, established that two of the police constables on the scene had refused to open fire at the four deceased, while the others sprayed 70 bullets at them.