Plea in SC for fresh probe of murder of ex-Gujarat minister Haren Pandya

A fresh plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking court-monitored investigation into the murder of former Gujarat minister Haren Pandya.

Pandya, a former minister of state for home in the then Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, was shot dead on March 26, 2003, in Ahmedabad near Law Garden area of the city during his morning walk.

The petition, filed by NGO CPIL, said that there was a need for the fresh probe in the case as some "startling information" has recently come to light which needs to be looked into.

"New pieces of information that have come to light regarding the possibility of IPS officers including D G Vanzara being involved in the conspiracy to kill Pandya clearly show that the involvement of the senior functionaries of the police as well as possible complicity of political figures. The investigation has clearly been 'botched' to benefit powerful figures in the administration," the petition claimed.

Referring to a recent testimony of a witness in Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, the plea claimed that witness has revealed that during his deposition Sohrabuddin had told him that Pandya was murdered as a part of a contract killing for which the contract was given by D G Vanzara.

"He also reveals that Sohrabuddin's associate Tulsiram Prajapati along with two others had murdered Pandya as part of that contract. In his deposition he mentions that he had already given this information to CBI in 2010," the plea claimed.

The NGO has made Ministry of Home Affairs and CBI as parties in the case.

It has sought production of the statement of Vanzara to the CBI and an "inquiry into the circumstances in which an identity sketch of the assassin drawn in 2003 that matches Tulsiram Prajapati more than the accused put on trial and the nature of investigation done".

The plea also sought an inquiry against the officers who conducted the earlier investigation and hold the errant officials accountable for the "botched up" probe.

A special PoTA (Prevention of Terrorist Activities) court had in 2007 convicted all 12 accused in the case who were awarded life imprisonment.

However, on August 29, 2011, a division bench of Gujarat High Court had slammed CBI for the probe which it said was "washed up" and "blinkered", and acquitted all the accused from the charge of murdering Pandya.

CBI has filed an appeal against the acquittal in Supreme Court.

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