Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ex-top cop quizzed by CBI for six hours

The CBI on Monday questioned retired additional DGP O P Mathur for nearly six hours at its Gandhinagar office. Mathur, who earlier headed the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter probe, is suspected of tampering with evidence and pressuring the then investigating officer Geetha Johri to go slow on preliminary investigations.
Mathur was questioned by a CBI team headed by SP Sandeep Tamgadge reportedly on 40 points relating to the encounter killings of Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati. He was also asked why the CID (crime), which he headed then, had claimed that the third person travelling with Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi in the Sangli-bound bus was one Kalimuddin. In her action taken report submitted in the Supreme Court, Johri had claimed the third person was Kalimuddin.
Soon after his retirement, Mathur was made director general of the Gujarat government’s newly launched Raksha Shakti University.
Mathur was heading the CID (crime) that conducted a preliminary probe into the encounter after Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin filed a habeas corpus on Kauser Bi, later confirmed to have been killed by a police team led by DIG D G Vanzara.
The CBI, in its supplementary chargesheet in Sohrabuddin encounter case filed in February 2010, had named Mathur as a witness.
Sources in CBI said Mathur was questioned for “building pressure” on Johri, who was probing the Sohrabuddin encounter as IG (CID) in 2006.
Johri was about to leave for Udaipur to interrogate Sohrabuddin aides Tulsiram Prajapati and Sylvester, but before she could, Prajapati was killed in an encounter on December 28, 2006. She had told the CBI earlier in 2010 she was under pressure.
According to CBI’s supplementary chargesheet, Johri had submitted documentary evidence, a note of May 2007, where she had said “there is an effort on the part of the state government to tamper with witnesses and evidences...”
According to sources, Mathur is also alleged to have played a role in erasing the reference of former minister of state (home) Amit Shah from the two CDs of call records.
The CDs had reportedly gone missing from CID files and had emerged allegedly tampered when the Supreme Court expressed unhappiness over the way the probe was being carried out and handed the investigation to the CBI.
Sources said Mathur was also instrumental in shunting IPS officer Rajnish Rai, who also probed the Sohrabuddin encounter as DIG (CID), out of CID after he arrested Vanzara, then DIG (Border Range), ATS SP Rajkumar Pandian and Udaipur SP Dinesh MN on April 24, 2007 without informing him.
Earlier, Mathur had deposed before CBI in 2010.
The CBI has also summoned Johri, who may appear before it on Tuesday.
Johri had appeared twice before CBI in 2010 in connection with the Sohrabuddin encounter case.