The Gujarat CID (Crime Investigation Department), which is investigating the alleged case of custodial death at Fatehgunj police station in December 2019, is set to seek an extension of remand of the six accused police officers, who had surrendered and were arrested on September 2 after being on the run for over two months. A local court in Vadodara, which had remanded the accused to CID custody until September 11 noon, will decide on the extension of the remand even as the CID explores options of psychoanalysis and narco-analysis of the “uncooperative” accused.
Vadodara Superintendent of Police (SP), Girish Pandya, told this newspaper that the six accused policemen are “uncooperative” and maintain that they had released the late Babu Nisar Shaikh (65), a resident of Telangana, after questioning him on December 10, 2019, in a case of attempted theft. The six accused include then police inspector (PI) at Fatehgunj police station DB Gohil, police sub-inspector (PSI) DM Rabari and Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) jawans Pankaj Mavjibhai, Yogendra Jilansinh, Rajiv Savjibhai and Hitesh Shambubhai.
“We have not been able to find the body yet or reconstruct the part of the crime outside the premises of the police station, which involves the disposal of the body, because the accused are unwavering from their stand that they let the deceased go. They are not responding during the interrogation and so, the way forward is to turn to narco tests, lie detector tests and polygraph tests along with psychoanalysis,” the SP said.
Pandya said that one of the accused, Pankaj, was brought to Vadodara on Thursday for an identification parade before the magistrate as he was the one who had chased Nisar before the police picked him up. “During our investigation, we learnt that Pankaj had used the two-wheeler of a civilian to follow and chase the victim from TP-13 area of Chhani up to Fulwadi area in Fatehgunj, before they picked him up for questioning. The civilian had identified the accused,” Pandya said.
Like Vadodara Police, the CID is also groping in the dark as no CCTV footage is available to ascertain whether Nisar indeed walked out of Fatehgunj police station, as claimed by the policemen. “All six accused are corroborating each other’s stories without any discrepancy. They are on the same page. We are probing the use of multiple vehicles to dispose of the body, apart from the Swift car belonging to the head constable (who is not an accused) that was seized by Vadodara Police in July. We will accordingly seek an extension of their remand.”
Last week, the CID had reconstructed the sequence of events inside Fatehgunj police station and also recorded the statements of brothers Satish Thakkar and Mukund Thakkar, who were the complainants of the original case of attempted theft by Nisar. Pandya said that the Thakkar brothers, both senior citizens, have refused to be part of the identification parade of the accused citing health and age-related reasons.
“They have said they are old and may not be able to identify the accused. So, we have excused them from the identification parade and recorded their statements instead,” Pandya said.
Nisar had reportedly gone missing on December 10, 2019, after he was apprehended by Fatehgunj police on suspicion of theft. Vadodara Police’s FIR heavily relied on the statement of Assistant Head Constable Shaktisinh, who said that he had seen Nisar tied to a chair with a belt and rope in the computer room of the police station to “restrict his movement,” while the six accused tortured him to extract a confession. Shaktisinh said that he saw the accused inserting a pen between Nisar’s fingers until he bled and “his voice faded away” and it “did not appear that he could be alive”, as per the FIR.
The police, on July 13, recovered a car of Head Constable Mahesh Rathwa, which was allegedly used by the accused to dispose of Nisar’s body.