The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today questioned former Gujarat Minister of State for Home Praful Patel in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, sources in the Central agency said here.
The questioning, being conducted in Gandhinagar, pertains to an alleged meeting held in November 2011 to decide the strategy "to obstruct the investigation" of the fake encounters of Ishrat Jahan and three others, CBI sources said. Suspended IPS officer G L Singhal, who was among the nine persons who attended the meeting, had submitted two pen drives to the investigators containing the recorded conversation of the meeting. Singhal is now out on bail, as the agency failed to file the charge sheet against him in the stipulated 90 days.
Singhal, his lawyer friend Rohit Verma, G C Murmu, A K Sharma, Patel, then Minister of State for Law Pradeepsinh Jadeja, then former minister and now Agriculture Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and another accused in Ishrat case, Tarun Barot had attended the meeting held in the private chamber of Advocate General Kamal Trivedi.
Yesterday the CBI had questionned Pradeepsinh Jadeja in the case. Last week, CBI grilled Murmu, secretary to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, and Crime Branch Joint Commissioner A K Sharma, pertaining to the meeting held in November 2011.
The agency also grilled suspended IPS officer D G Vanzara last week regarding his resignation letter in which he had hit out at Modi government for failing to protect the jailed police officers with regard to fake encounter cases. Senior BJP leader Amit Shah, a close aide of Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, may also be questioned this week in wake of Vanzara's claims that Gujarat government was "inspiring, guiding and monitoring" every police action from "very close quarters".
CBI has named Singhal, Vanzara, suspended IPS officers P P Pandey and Tarun Barot, NK Amin, retired DSP J G Parmar and commando Anaju Chaudhary in the charge sheet, accusing them of murder and criminal conspiracy with regard to the encounter killing of 19-year-old Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in June 2004. CBI's probe in the case was still on, it had said when filing the charge sheet in July 2013.