Sohrabuddin Sheikh ‘fake encounter’ case has come back to haunt the Andhra Pradesh police. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case naming senior IPS officer of AP cadre N Balasubramanyam along with another police official from the state besides senior BJP leader and former Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria and a businessman Vimal Patni.
A 1994 batch IPS officer, Balasubramanyam is currently working as Inspector General of Police (IGP), Intelligence.
The IPS officer and then Inspector Ch Srinivas Rao, currently a DSP rank officer, allegedly helped the Gujarat Police to execute the operation.
All the persons named in the supplementary chargesheet face charge of murder.
Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly abducted by Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005.
The CBI had probed the role of AP Police in the kidnapping and killing of Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bi by the Gujarat Police, which had caused quite a stir in the state police.
In fact, Balasubramanyam and Srinivasa Rao were summoned and questioned by the CBI in Ahmedabad in February 2012 and their statements were recorded. Balasubramanyam, who was the Superintendent of Police, Prakasam district at the time of the incident, had reportedly provided logistical support to the visiting Gujarat ATS team headed by Rajkumar Pandian. Srinivas Rao, who was the inspector of police, Rajendranagar, Cyberabad, at that time, had also allegedly helped the Gujarat police in their operation.
Though it was alleged that Balasubramanyam had booked a room in the AP Police Officers’ Mess for Pandian, he had earlier denied the same.
Sohrab and Kauser Bi were picked up from a bus bound for Sangli in Maharashtra.
Sources said that around the time Sohrabuddin was picked up along with Kauser Bi, Gujarat police officer DG Vanzara had a conversation with Balasubramanyam, the details of which have been gathered by the CBI.
A former Naxalite Nayeemuddin is said to be the person who reportedly lured Sohrabuddin to Hyderabad and tipped off the police who then set out on his trail. Over the last few years, Nayeemuddin has remained untraceable though the CBI has been looking out for him. The AP angle to the Sohrabuddin case gathered momentum after a Supreme Court observation to speed up investigations on what all went on in AP with regard to the encounter.
BJP leader Gulabchand Kataria faces charges of murder along with three others who have been named. One of the accused in the supplementary chargesheet is Vimal Patni, who is the director of RK Marble.
The CBI said that it was alleged that Sohrabuddin, a small-time criminal, had demanded Rs 24 crore as protection money from Patni and that is why he was eliminated.
Kataria was allegedly a link between Patni and former Home Minister of Gujarat Amit Shah. According to CBI, Shah was the “kingpin” of the conspiracy to kill Sohrabuddin. He was arrested in July 2010 but released on bail after three months.
It is, however, unclear whether the investigating agency has taken sanction for prosecuting Balasubramanyam.