'Top cop Pandey, now on run, plotted Ishrat encounter with IB man'
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The arrest of P P Pandey, the additional DGP in charge of CID (crime) who is now wanted by the CBI for his role in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan case, could be a tipping point for the Gujarat Police, whose many senior officers are already cooling heels in jails for their role various encounter killings in the state and in the investigations into the 2002 riots.
A 1980-batch IPS officer, Pandey was the joint commissioner of police in Ahmedabad when Ishrat and three others were killed in a police encounter on the city's outskirts in June 2004.
Incidentally, D G Vanzara, the once-feared encounter specialist now jailed in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati encounter cases, was DCP (crime) in Ahmedabad police in 2004. He was said to be close to Pandey, who is an accused in the Sadiq Jamal encounter case also.
CBI believes Pandey "conspired" with some officials of the Intelligence Bureau who "passed" to him an input that Ishrat and three others were Lashkar-e-Tayabba operatives out on a mission to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
"The Ishrat encounter was planned by top officers of the Ahmedabad crime branch following an intelligence input from IB, which was received by the then Ahmedabad police commissioner K R Kaushik, who shared it with Pandey. Pandey, in turn, shared the input with his trusted aide D G Vanzara," a CBI officer said.
The input is said to have been passed by Rajinder Kumar, an IB official then posted in Gujarat.
The CBI official said Vanzara had formed two teams under G L Singhal and N K Amin (both police officers now in CBI custody) to carry out the encounter killing of Ishrat and three others and Pandey had supervised the "logistics" and "communication" with Singhal's help.