There is more discomfiture for the Gujarat government as the high court has directed the state police to produce documents related to what will be the fourth high profile fake encounter case in the state.
The three earlier ones that have come to light were those of Ishrat Jahan, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati. In the fourth case, which is, however, chronologically the first, Sadiq Jamal Mehtar was gunned down by an Ahmedabad police team led by DG Vanjara, who figures in the three other cases also and is now in the Sabarmati central jail on charges of killing Sohrabuddin in a fake encounter.
A special investigation team appointed by the high court is probing the Ishrat Jahan case.
All these happened under the stewardship of Narendra Modi as chief minister. Within four months of his becoming CM in October 2001, the state witnessed anti Muslim pogroms on a scale never seen in the country except in 1992-93, after the Babri Masjid was brought down.
Modi’s role during the disturbances is still being investigated by a Special Investigating Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court.
Police had killed Sadiq in Ahmedabad in January 2003, when he was supposedly on a mission to target Modi, the then deputy prime minister LK Advani and VHP member Pravin Togadia. After the encounter, police had claimed the deceased was linked to the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Tayyeba.
The police version was along similar lines in the Ishrat Jahan encounter also.
The Ahmedabad police crime branch, which carried out the encounter, also investigated it and filed a report stating that Sadiq's three accomplices mentioned in the FIR were “not traceable”. The report was submitted to the Ahmedabad metropolitan court.
Acting on a petition moved by Sadiq’s brother Shabir Jamal, Justice Akil Kureshi of the Gujarat high court on Tuesday directed the metropolitan court and police to produce all documents on the case.