Express Exclusive: The money trail, from the suspect and back
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As reported in The Indian Express yesterday, the Central Bureau of Investigation had probed allegations of clandestine meetings and payoffs between persons subsequently made accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and CBI officials in Mumbai handling the investigation. Excerpts from the probe report of the CBI's Special Unit:
In the car
On or around April 30, 2010, Yashpal Chudasama (later accused in counter case) contacted Nitin Shenoy to seek the help of his advocate friend K K Mannan. When Shenoy received the call, he was travelling in his car with his advocate friend Rajesh Ranjan. Chudasama was advised to wait at Bandra and picked up.
During the discussions, Ranjan inquired about the investigating officer. On coming to know Amitabh Thakur was the IO, he assured his help to Chudasama. To impress Chudasama and Shenoy, Ranjan made a call to Thakur and chatted informally. Chudasama requested Shenoy to seek the help of Ranjan in fixing issues arising out of the investigation.
In the fake encounter case, notices under CrPC section 160 against Chudasama and Ajay Patel were issued four times in May 2010. Between May 1 and 18, Ranjan informed Shenoy about the demand for Rs 3 crore by Amitabh Thakur. Shenoy conveyed the demand to Chudasama, who after three days accepted it.
On the train
Chudasama made a request for an informal meeting with Amitabh Thakur prior to his examination in the CBI office in Mumbai. Thakur agreed to meet them (Chudasama and Nitin Shenoy) on the Gujarat Mail on June 13, 2010. This was conveyed by Ranjan. Just before its departure, Shenoy and Chudasama boarded the train at Mumbai Central and met Thakur in the first class coupe. The complicity of Chudasama (in the encounter case) was discussed. The group travelled up to Borivali. Shenoy lent his spare mobile to Chudasama, as the latter was not carrying his mobile to escape detection by the CBI. At Borivali, Chudasama stepped down from another bogey while Shenoy alighted with Thakur. Ranjan was at the station... He asked about the meeting and Thakur replied it was satisfactory. Thakur continued his journey.