2 October 2013
Dr Manmohan Singh,
The Hon’ble Prime Minister,
Union of India,
Subject: Rejoinder to the various allegations made by Shri Arun Jaitley in his letter dated 1 October 2013 to the Prime Minister of India with respect to the fake encounters of Sohrabuddin and others.
On behalf of the relatives of the victims who were killed in the fake encounters by the Gujarat Police in collusion with the Government of Gujarat, the undersigned who appear as the advocate on behalf of Rubabuddin Sheikh, brother of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Narmada Prajapati, mother of Tulsi Prajapati and Gopinath Pillai, father of Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, I have to bring to your notice the true facts to counter the absolutely false and frivolous allegations that are being made by Shri Arun Jaitley. I have to state that the rejoinder given here in below are relatable to the allegations made by Mr Jaitley quoted verbatim from his letter but not necessarily arranged in the same sequence as they appear in the letter. The sequence is re-arranged as per the importance of the allegations. Our rejoinders are as under (the allegations of Jaitley are in italics and numbered as 1,2,3 etc):
1. The only evidence mentioned against Shri Amit Shah by the CBI in this case was that he was regularly in touch with one police officer Shri RK Pandian, IPS who was an accused in the case. The vast contemporaneous record shows that Shri RK Pandian, IPS had been regularly in telephonic contact of Shri Amit Shah much before and after the incident as a part of his official duty since he was also heading the charge of SP, IB (Intelligence) of the State Police looking after political agitations and political activities. Any Home Minister of any State will have to necessarily remain in touch with SP…
The entire premise of Mr Jaitley’s argument to explain the huge number of calls between Amit Shah and accused RK Pandian during the core period of Tulsi Prajapati murder case was that Shri RK Pandian being the SP IB (intelligence) of Gujarat State police had to stay in touch with Home Minister Amit Shah. However this assertion is entirely false because RK Pandian was not the SP, IB (intelligence) of Gujarat State police when Tulsiram Prajapati was killed by Gujarat Police on 28 December 2006. In fact, RK Pandian was transferred to the post of IB Intelligence on 23rd March 2007, much after Tulsi was murdered. At the time of Tulsi Prajapati’s murder, Pandian was actually SP Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) and did not have any of the duties of overseeing political agitations and political activities as stated by Mr Jaitley. He was also the SP ATS Gujarat Police when Sohrabuddin was abducted and killed on 28th November 2005 and it was Pandian himself who was part of the abduction team. The periods of phone calls are in between these two murders which peaked around the date of murder of Tulsi Prajapati.
One Mr Rajnish Rai, IPS was appointed as the supervising officer of Sohrabuddin case on 9th of March 2007. It was Mr Rai who asked for the transfer of Rajkumar Pandia from ATS by a note dated 13 March 2007 to a non-executive post such that he would not interfere with the investigation of the cases. Government of Gujarat conceded and posted him as SP Intelligence state on 23 March 2007.
To resort to such falsification by an established lawyer and the Leader of the Rajya Sabha is indeed shocking and shameless.
2. The encounter in which one Sohrabudin Sheikh was killed was an operation allegedly directed by the Intelligence Bureau of the Central Government.
3. After his encounter on 24/25-11-2005 his brother filed a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court.
Both the assertions 2 and 3 are patently false. The encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh was a joint operation between the police of Rajasthan and Gujarat supported to some extent by Andhra Pradesh Police. On the basis of a letter written by Rubabuddin Sheikh dated 6 January 2006 and received by Supreme Court on 14 January 2006. Supreme Court directed Gujarat Government to do a preliminary inquiry which was entrusted to Geeta Johri IPS, IGP, CID Crime Gujarat. The first report was filed by detective Police Inspector VL Solanki of CID Crime of Ahmedabad City to the Additional Director General of CID Crime, Geeta Johri on 1st September 2006. Geeta Johri however delayed the filing of the first Action Taken Report (ATR) in Supreme Court. by over 3 months which were filed on on 7-12-2006 and 16-12-2006. In the ATR, Gujarat Police (and not CBI) admitted that there were reasons to believe that Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi were abducted and Sohrabuddin was killed by Gujarat Police on 26th November 2006 in Ahmedabad.
VL Solanki had conducted the preliminary inquiry PE No 66/2006 and the names against whom the complaint was filed were Special Task Force Rajasthan and Anti Terrorist Squad Gujarat. There was no mention whatsoever of either IB Central or SIB Gujarat or any intelligence input received from these intelligence organizations.
Thereafter Rubabuddin Sheikh had filed a habeas corpus petition on 19th January 2007 being WP 6/2006 in which there were 12 respondents including Amit Shah It was in this habeas corpus petition that the Supreme Court had ordered the Gujarat Police to start the investigation of the fake encounter and Shri Rajnish Rai IPS, DIG CID Crime Gujarat Police, was entrusted with the investigation with effect from 2nd week of March 2007. DG Vanzara IPS, Rajkumar Pandian IPS and Dinesh MN IPS were arrested by Rajnish Rai of Gujarat Police on 24th April 2007 and a worried Government of Gujarat removed him and transferred the investigation to Geeta Johri IPS. The first charge sheet was filed by Geeta Johri against over a dozen police officers. Again there was not even a whisper of allegation by the Gujarat Police in their charge-sheet against any Central agency or IB organization regarding the fake encounter and the entire blamed was pinned on the Gujarat and the Rajasthan Police.
4. The State police reconstructed the encounter, conducted scientific investigation under supervision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and implicated and arrested several police officers including three IPS officers.
The assertion made by Arun Jaitley is true. However it is pertinent to note that the CBI had nothing to do with the charge-sheeting of Gujarat Police in the Sohrabuddin case till this point of time because the case hadn’t been entrusted to CBI. It was Gujarat Police which had filed the first charge-sheet in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case and deemed the encounter to be fake.
5. The ground on which the Supreme Court transferred the case to the CBI was that the investigation involved inter-state ramifications and the Andhra Pradesh angle of the matter had not been probed. It did not probe the Andhra Pradesh angle of the case seriously.
The Sohrabuddin case was handed over to CBI by the Supreme Court not because of the reasons mentioned by Jaitley but in Supreme Court’s own words for the following reasons:
This extract is taken from Judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Rubabuddin Sheikh v. State of Gujarat reported in (2010) 2 SCC 200, at page 217:
“69. We have observed that from the record, it was found that Mr VL Solanki, an investigating officer, was proceeding in the right direction, but Ms Johri had not been carrying out the investigation in the right manner, in view of our discussions made here in above. It appears that Ms Johri had not made any reference to the second report of Solanki, and that though his first report was attached with one of her reports, the same was not forwarded to this Court.
81. In the present circumstances and in view of the involvement of the police officials the State in this crime, we cannot shut our eyes and direct the State police authorities to continue with the investigation and the charge-sheet and for a proper and fair investigation, we also feel that CBI should be requested to take up the investigation and submit a report in this Court within six months from the date of handing over a copy of this judgment and the records relating to this crime to them.”
The Supreme Court therefore specifically noticed the mischief played by Geeta Johri IPS, to derail the further investigation carried out by V L Solanki, the IO appointed by DGP Gujarat and hence handed over the case to CBI. Solanki gave his statement before the CBI pointing out that Amit Shah also directed Geeta Johri to destroy the enquiry papers submitted by him which he refused to do.
Furthermore, CBI has fully investigated the Andhra Pradesh angle and has charge-sheeted 3 officers of Andhra Pradesh Police and filed the supplementary charge-sheet before the Mumbai sessions court along with two other accused namely Gulab Chand Kataria and Vimal Patni
6. Tulsi Prajapati was a case built up by the CBI as an extension to the Sohrabudin case.
The allegation at no 6 is patently false. The investigation in the Tulsi Prajapati case was started by Gujarat Police on its own and not CBI. The investigation was initially entrusted to Rajnish Rai IPS of Gujarat Police in the month of March 2007 and later to Geeta Johri IPS of Gujarat Police. Thereafter one Mr RK Patel DySP of Gujarat Police took over the investigation and filed the first charge sheet against DSP Vipul Aggrawal and several others. However since Mr Patel had derailed the investigation, the Supreme Court by its order dated 8.4.2011 transferred the investigation to CBI. Hence it can be seen that Tulsi Prajapati case was not built up by the CBI but actually built up by the Gujarat Police as an extension to the Sohrabuddin case.
7. The CBI filed a supplementary charge sheet against Gulab Chand Kataria wherein it was alleged that the motive of elimination of Tulsi Prajapati by Gulab Kataria was extorting money from marble dealers of Rajasthan namely RK Marbles.
Being an eminent lawyer, it’s surprising how poor Mr Jaitley is at presenting facts and that too when he’s addressing a letter to the Prime Minister of the country. The CBI has never filed any supplementary charge-sheet against Kataria in the case of Tulsi Prajapati. In fact they had filed the supplementary charge-sheet in the case of Sohrabuddin, charging Gulab Chand Kataria and Vimal Patni, owner of R K Marbles, of eliminating Sohrabuddin and not Tulsi!
8. While living in denial, it was the political establishment of New Delhi which collusively got filed a petition before the Gujarat High Court in the name of the relatives of the Ishrat Jehan.
Allegation made in point no 8 is patently false and defamatory. Ishrat Jahan’s mother had filed the case in 2004 and in 2008 the High Court with the consent of the counsel Dr. Mukul Sinha appearing for Ishrat’s mother and the Advocate General, the Gujarat High Court had appointed the first SIT comprising of Pramod Kumar IPS, JK Bhatt IPS and Mohan Jha IPS, all three being officers of the Gujarat Police and their names being suggested by the Government of Gujarat. The SIT function for full one year till it was replaced by another SIT formed by the division bench of the Gujarat High Court in 2009 that finally held the encounter to be fake. Another petition was filed by Gopinath Pillai, the father of another deceased Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, which was heard along with Ishrat’s case and was argued by Dr Mukul Sinha on behalf of Gopinath Pillai. Dr Mukul Sinha and his colleagues run a completely independent civil rights organization called Jan Sangharsh Manch which is not remotely connected with either BJP or Congress. Therefore the cases filed with the help of Jan Sangharsh Manch (pro-bono) and Dr Mukul Sinha has no connection whatsoever with the Union Government.
9. Ishrat Jehan’s case was also completely handled by the Intelligence Bureau of the Central Government (Central IB). The Central IB received information that some persons, including two from Pakistan after infiltrating into India, were planning to eliminate important leaders like Shri Narendra Modi, Shri L.K Advani etc.
10. The political establishment of the State of Gujarat was no where involved in this exercise.
11. In a surprise move the Gujarat High Court appointed a 3-member SIT which included a nominee of the Central Government, a nominee of the State Government and a nominee of the writ petitioners. The writ petitioner’s nominee was one Shri SatishVerma, IPS. The Central Government nominee kept on changing from Karnail Singh, Satyapal Singh to Shri R.K. Verma etc. The police officers of the Central Government were reluctant to be a part of this inquiry since the same was intended to be used for an extraneous political purpose.
The allegations in Points 9, 10 and 11 are once again patently false. The false inputs were created by Rajinder Kumar, the Join Director of SIB stationed at Gujarat while working in tandem with the Gujarat Police and has been jointly charged for the encounter.
In the Javed-Ishrat case, High Court had appointed a three member SIT which gave the report that encounter was fake. The report was signed by R K Verma IPS on behalf of Central Government, Mohan Jha IPS on behalf of State Government and Satish Verma, IPS of Gujarat Police appointed by Gujarat High Court on behalf of the Petitioner. Jaitley conveniently forgets to mention Mohan Jha who was the Police officer appointed by Gujarat Government and tries to slander Satish Verma as he was appointed by High Court on being named by the petitioner’s advocate (Mukul Sinha).
12. The case was, thereafter, referred to the CBI and the police officers nominated by the relatives of the persons killed in the encounter himself desired and was made a part of CBI team initially for helping in the investigation. What happened thereafter has been one of the greatest scandals in recent investigation history.
13. Those who were not arrested were induced to falsely implicate Central IB officials and political leaders of Gujarat BJP in lieu of they being not shown as accused in the Charge Sheet making them witnesses.
14. Shri DG Vanjara, IPS is in jail for the last six years in connection with some of the cases mentioned above. It appears from the charge sheet that he actively cooperated with the Central Intelligence Bureau in its’ anti anti-terrorism operations. The strategy of the Congress Party was to implicate him in all these cases and thereafter pressurize him to make false statements. For this purpose a retired IPS officer of Gujarat cadre was suddenly taken on deputation to the Central Government and immediately after he retired, he has been re-appointed as an Advisor to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The assertions in 12, 13 and 14 are not only patently false but are absurd. The investigation was transferred to CBI by the order of the High Court at the request of the Advocate General, Gujarat, and the accused police officers and not by the Advocate appearing for Gopinath Pillai (Mukul Sinha) who had vehemently objected to the appointment of CBI and had submitted that the SIT appointed by Gujarat High Court should continue with the investigation under CrPC.
Mr Jaitley who is the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha does not even bother to verify his facts before making such absurd and false allegations.
15. After Shri Harin Pandya was assassinated it was the Gujarat Government to hand over the case to the CBI. It was the CBI which investigated the case there was no role played by Gujarat police or any person in Gujarat.
The assertion is factually incorrect and false. While it is true that CBI was handed over the investigation after few days of the murder which took place on 26th March 2003, at that time CBI was under NDA led by BJP.
Abhay Chudasama of Gujarat Police, who is an accused in Sohrabuddin-Tulsi fake encounter cases, was specially deputed to CBI to ‘assist’ the CBI in the investigation of the Haren Pandya murder case. Thus the assertion that “no role was played by Gujarat Police” is wholly false.
16. The case has been tried by the competent Trial court wherein some persons were convicted. The Judgement was reversed by the High Court. Against reversal of the said judgement the CBI and also the Gujarat government has filed an appeal which is admitted by the Supreme Court and is pending in the Supreme Court. Notwithstanding the fact of the appeal being heard in the Supreme Court, fresh efforts are being made to politicize the case and suggestions to this effect are being made in the corridors of power by senior Congress leaders to implicate BJP leaders at this belated stage.
It is absolutely true that High Court has acquitted all the accused who were prosecuted by the CBI in the Haren Pandya case and therefore the most important question has arisen as to who killed Haren Pandya. The allegation that fresh efforts are made to politicize the case appears seems to be a part of the fear psychosis of the BJP establishment that a reinvestigation in Haren Pandya case would open up a huge can of worms that is worrying Mr Arun Jaitley.
17. It has been reported that an investigation has started by the CBI against the Advocate General, some Ministers and officials of the Gujarat Government. The charge appears to be that in the course of a preparation with regard to a case pending in the Gujarat High court in which the Advocate General was appearing, certain discussions have taken place between these ministers, officials and the Advocate General. The said conversations were allegedly taped at the behest of a police officer who was present in the meeting. This was in effect a discussion between the officers of the client i.e. Gujarat Government and its Advocate General. A legal strategy was being prepared. How can a preparation of legal strategy constitute any interference in the investigation of a case.
In the Javed-Ishrat case, the SIT was appointed by Gujarat High Court to answer the primary question as to whether the encounter was fake or not. The allegation of the complainants namely Ishrat’s mother and Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh’s father were that police officers were the cold blooded murderers. High Court’s endeavour was to find whether the police officers were guilty of committing murder or they were killed in self defence. The officers were therefore in the zone of the accused and the state was in the role of the prosecutor/impartial investigator. In fact, it had nominated Mohan Jha, a Gujarat Cadre officer, as its representative in SIT. State Government therefore had to speak and support SIT as an impartial investigator entrusted to do an impartial investigation and report to the High Court.
Thus State Government under law is the prosecutor in the Javed-Ishrat fake encounter case. State Government works through the public prosecutors and in the Higher Courts through the Advocate General. There cannot be a legal strategy planned between the State Government/Advocate General and the accused police officers along with their lawyers. In view of these undisputed facts, Arun Jaitley’s own assertion that “This was in effect a discussion between the officers of the client i.e. Gujarat Government and its Advocate General. A legal strategy was being prepared.” would amount to a clear admission that the Gujarat Government and the accused officers were colluding.
18. The CBI targeted Shri Amit Shah, the then Home Minister and also the Minister of Law, Transport & Parliamentary Affairs of the State of Gujarat with the ultimate desire of implicating Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
19. The CBI arrested Amit Shah with no prosecutable evidence against him. In order to arrest Amit Shah they relied on the false testimony of two witnesses namely, Ramanbhai Patel and Dashrathbhai Patel, noted land grabbers of Gujarat. Shri Amit Shah, as per the CBI theory in the Charge Sheet, is alleged to have told both of them six months after the encounter that Sohrabudin had left no option for himself.
The assertions made in point 18 and 19 are patently false. Amit Shah was the Minister of State for Home during the whole period 2003-2006 during which all the five major encounters had taken place which included Ishrat Jahan case and Sohrabuddin case referred by Arun Jaitley. Shri Narendra Modi was the Home Minister as well as the Chief Minister. Mr DG Vanzara was the inspector general of Police in DCB Crime Ahmedabad till 2005 and from 2005 onwards till middle of November 2006 the IG of Anti Terrorist Squad. Admittedly, for the murder of Sohrabuddin, Gujarat police had arrested DG Vanzara and most of his subordinate who were working in ATS. Evidence has come on record to show that Amit Shah was carrying out an extortion racket along with Abhay Chudasama another accused and two brothers Ramanbhai Patel and Dashratbhai Patel, who were the builders of the Popular House, were the victims of Abhay and Amit Shah and the brothers had paid a large amount of money as protection money. In the month of January 2005, there was a firing in the Popular House allegedly by goons sent by Sohrabuddin at the behest of Abhay Chudasama demanding money. That case is registered in the Navrangpura police stated of Ahmedabad against Sohrabuddin, Tulsi Prajapati and others. It is before these two brothers that Amit Shah had made the statement that Sohrabuddin and lost his right to live. Apart from the fact that Vanzara was reporting to Amit Shah and taking orders from him which has been brought out very candidly in his recent resignation letter where has categorically admitted that he and his sub-ordinate officers had carried out the fake encounters under the close monitoring of CM and MoS Home and that their rightful place is in Sabarmati Jail or Taloja Jail. The evidence of Ramanbhai and Dashratbhai are admissible, credible evidence sufficient to charge Amit Shah for murder and arrest him. It is for the competent trial court to decide whether its sufficient to convict Amit Shah also and it is not for Mr Arun Jaitley to comment in a matter which is wholly sub-judice which should be apparent to him as a lawyer.
20. He had never met (on 25 Dec 2005) D. G. Vanjara, IPS at all. His presence in the National Executive and the National Council of BJP is recorded by the BJP. He had signed the Attendance Register which amongst others was signed by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Shri L.K.Advani. The air tickets of Shri Gulab Chand Kataria’s travel are available in the records of the Rajasthan Government
This allegation is patently false. If Jaitley does have such documented proof of DG Vanzara not having met Gulab Chand Kataria, then it is very much within his powers to file a quashing petition for Gulab Chand Kataria to quash the charge-sheet against for Gulab Chand Kataria in the Sohrabuddin case. The supplementary charge sheet filed against Mr Kataria has sufficient admissible evidence to charge Mr Kataria for abduction and murder.
Sir, after perusing the above rejoinder, you will appreciate that Mr Jaitley has made a completely misconceived, misleading and false representation to you with the oblique intention of subverting the ongoing investigation of CBI. As the head of the largest constitutional democracy, on behalf of the victims, I can only sincerely urge you to reject such a representation in limine and direct the CBI not to be deterred or inhibited by such ulterior political interferences which are given wide publicity by public domain and be further pleased to direct the CBI to reach the logical end of each fake encounter so that the victims get justice. No person whoever high and mighty he or she may be, should be allowed to escape the long hand of law and on behalf of the victims, the undersigned shall forever remain obliged.
Dr. Mukul Sinha