High court reserves order in 2003 staged shootout case


Gandhinagar: A single-judge bench of the Gujarat High Court Monday once again reserved its order in the 2003 killing of Sadiq Jamal Mehtar in an alleged staged shootout.

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The court had on April 8 reserved the order but following the state government’s plea seeking it to take an affidavit on record, gave opportunity of hearing to all parties Monday. The court, after hearing parties, reserved the order.

During the hearing of the case, Mukul Sinha, lawyer for Sadiq’s brother Shabbir, opposed the state government’s proposal to have the case investigated by the government appointed Special Task Force presided over by retired Supreme Court judge M.B. Shah.

Sinha, who has been seeking investigation of the case by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), however submitted that he has no objection if the probe would be handed over to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that is investigating the Ishrat Jahan fake shootout case. Earlier, government pleader P.K. Jani had informed the
court about constitution of the STF and sought handing over of the probe to the STF.

However, opposing the government’s proposal Sinha said, according to law and statute the government cannot make such STF on its own except by the courts while exercising powers under articles 226 and 32 of the Indian constitution.

On the legality of the STF, Sinha argued, “Even court cannot interfere after filing an FIR in a case till charge sheet is filed.”

The court has only looked into the aspect that the investigation has been done properly or not. In this scenario, the court can order further investigation under section 173 of the Cr.PC. “However I have no objection if the probe is handed over to SIT formed by the division bench.”

He however submitted that he didn’t have any faith in Gujarat Police. Advancing his arguments in this connection, Sinha stated that Tariq Parveen, a co-accused who the police claimed to be with Sadiq on a mission to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, lives near Mumbai police headquarters. He said he had his contact number and address. “The man, who Gujarat police have termed as dreaded criminal, is roaming free right under nose of the Mumbai Police. They (Gujarat police) showed him (Tariq) as dreaded terrorist but he is roaming free in Mumbai.

“I have his residential address and contact number. If that’s their investigation in the case in which they’ve filed ‘A’ summary, how can I trust them?” he asked. ‘A’ summary is filed when police has nothing further to find or investigate in the case.

Sadiq Jamal Mehtar, a resident of Bhavnagar, was gunned down by officers of the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) near Galaxy cinema in Nadiad in 2003. The DCB claimed that he was out to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The police then closed the case on the ground that nothing further was found. The case took a serious turn when Mumbai-based journalist Ketan Tirodkar alleged that Sadiq was handed over to Gujarat police by Daya Nayak, ‘encounter specialist’ cop of Mumbai. A few days later, Sadiq was killed in a staged shootout while police had claimed that they fired at him in self-defence.