The magistrate's court on Friday turned down a plea filed by the Gujarat government, seeking that the eight accused policemen in Sohrabbudin Shaikh fake encounter case be allowed to return to the Ahmedabad prison where they had been lodged, citing an intelligence report that indicated a threat to their lives.
The accused, including suspended IPS officers DG Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh MN, had arrived to the city on Thursday for the hearing in the fake encounter case and were produced before the additional chief metropolitan magistrate court on Friday.
SN Raj, advocate for the Gujarat government, moved the application, pleading their repatriation to the Sabarmati prison in Ahmedabad. He cited a report, which he claimed had been prepared by the State Intelligence Bureau and indicated that the policemen's lives were in danger.
The application stated that SIB had received input from MAC (Multi Agency Centre) about the security threat to the accused cops. The SIB, on November 5, had informed the Gujarat government that members of banned outfit SIMI had been planning an attack on the accused cops.
The report, attached to the application, also said that a former SIMI member from Surat and his associates in Mumbai had planned a grievous attack on the officers, in particular, former deputy commissioner of police Abhay Chudasma, during their stay in the Arthur Road prison.
Adhik Shirodkar, senior counsel, who appeared for the Gujarat government, argued that the Maharashtra government did not do anything on receipt of the threat and forwarded it to the Gujarat government.
Shirodkar further said that though the Maharashtra government had assured they were working on strategy to keep the accused cops safe in custody, "till the strategy is finalised, the accused may be taken back to Gujarat and produced before the court through video conferencing."
Advocate for accused DG Vanzara, who was deputy inspector general during the encounter, argued that Vanzara had been provided Z security by the Gujarat government, which would be withdrawn if he was transferred to Mumbai.
The CBI however objected the application stating that the Gujarat government has no locus standi and the court may direct the jail authorities to provide them proper security.
After hearing the pleas, the court rejected the Gujarat government's application and asked the jail authority to submit a report on the security threat. It further directed the state (Maharashtra) government to provide Z security to Vanzara.