CBI probe casts shadow on own officers, agency buries report

CBI

An internal inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation has found that two senior IPS officers allegedly played a dubious role in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case probe, with one of them suspected to be linked to an alleged Rs 3 crore payoff to shield an Ahmedabad banker who was eventually named as an accused in the case.

However, a year after the CBI's Special Unit-11 submitted the internal inquiry report and recommended registering a preliminary enquiry (PE), a more detailed investigation and administrative action against one of the IPS officers, the agency has not acted on the recommendations.

CBI director Ranjit Sinha, said the case may need to be examined again. "The allegations are very serious as listed in the report prepared by our special unit. If needed, or if some query is received, maybe from the CVC, I think this is a matter which needs re-examination," he told The Indian Express when reached for comment.

Amitabh Thakur, the then SP-rank officer suspected to be linked to the alleged payoff, refuted the allegations and said they had been looked into threadbare and could not be proven.

The other IPS officer in question, P Kandaswamy, the then Mumbai-based CBI DIG who was supervising the fake encounter probe, also denied any wrongdoing and said that he had never been questioned by any official in Delhi.

The probe into the 2005 killing of Sheikh was transferred to the CBI in February 2010 and the alleged foul play in the investigation was discovered in October 2011 when the agency recorded the statement of a suspect, Nitin Shenoy.

In his 15-page statement, Shenoy claimed that he and a man named Rajesh Ranjan — an alleged conman arrested in September 2011 for impersonating a CBI officer — were instrumental in arranging the Rs 3 crore payoff to Amitabh Thakur, the CBI's Mumbai-based investigating officer (IO) in the case, to shield a suspect named Yashpal Chudasama.

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