The Maharashtra Police informed the Supreme Court on Friday that it has registered a murder case against five Haryana Police crime branch officials for allegedly killing Gurgaon-based Sandeep Gadoli in a fake encounter in a Mumbai hotel in February.
The high-profile cop-versus-cop case saw another twist with the Mumbai Police’s special investigation team (SIT) naming Gadoli’s girlfriend as an accused. The gangster with a Rs 1.25-lakh reward on his head had kept the Gurgaon Police on their toes for over two decades and was wanted in 36 cases, including murder and extortion.
Divya Pahuja , considered the sole eyewitness in the case, was made an accused as police claim she acted as a conspirator in the alleged encounter. “Pahuja was the only one present in the room except Gurgaon Police and the deceased Gadoli... her name has been added after our investigations found out that she had tipped off the policemen about Gadoli’s whereabouts,” said a SIT officer requesting anonymity.
“She was constantly in touch with the policemen and her mother on WhatsApp and had been hinting about their location,” he added.
On Friday, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi told the SC vacation bench “the Mumbai SIT has come to conclusion that it (killing of Sandeep Gadoli) was a fake encounter and five Haryana Police officers and three private persons including a woman have been booked under section 302 IPC”.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Gadoli’s brother seeking a magisterial inquiry and registration of a murder case against the Gurgaon cops.
The SIT’s case against its colleagues in uniform picked up steam after it gathered evidence through CCTV cameras installed in the Mumbai hotel in which Gadoli was killed.
The duo checked into Airport Metro hotel on February 6, 2016, following which Gurgaon Police laid a trap leading to the encounter the next day. The incident was captured by three CCTV cameras facing the hotel room.
Police alleged Pahuja gave false statements to the SIT, which were later cleared after they got the CCTV footage of the incident.
“Pahuja gave her statement as it was narrated to her by the policemen as even she claimed Gadoli was the first one to fire bullets on Gurgaon Police and in retaliation they counter fired which led to his death,” a police source said.
The source said the policemen even tried to damage a CCTV facing Gadoli’s room and this act was captured by another camera.
Police officials have now added sections 193 (false evidence), 182 (giving false information to cause public servant to use his power to the injury of another person) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code against the eight cops and Gadoli’s girlfriend.
The apex court bench recorded Rohatgi’s statement and ordered the SIT to proceed with the probe in accordance with the law.
It directed listing of the petition on July 13 after the petitioner’s counsel, advocate Sanjay Parikh, urged the court to direct a probe by a judicial magistrate into the encounter. He claimed the involvement of an assistant commissioner of police in the encounter.