After the arrest of three IPS officers in the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and the alleged murder of his wife in 2005, the Gujarat CID (Crime) is now focussing on those policemen who executed the entire operation, police sources said on Thursday.
The CID has detained certain policemen of the ranks of Inspector, Sub-inspector and Constable, who were members of the team that tracked Sohrabuddin all the way from Hyderabad and then were part of the encounter near Ahmedabad.
"These policemen are being interrogated as they were part of the team that conducted the entire operation. There were some intelligence inputs involved to track Sohrabuddin. The policemen specifically knew by which bus Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati (a friend of theirs) were travelling in and also the seat numbers," the sources said.
The individual role of these policemen is being scrutinised carefully so that there are no loopholes in the investigation, they said.
A case may be registered against them soon and they are likely to be arrested once the CID is sure of their role in the crime, the sources said.
The CID team probing the fake encounter episode is also reported to have videotaped the 'confessions' of some of the accused policemen.
The CID is seeking answers to a number of questions that are important from the probe's point of view.
The investigating team also wants to find out how exactly the Gujarat Police got to know of Sohrabuddin's whereabouts -- through intelligence inputs or was he 'given away' by an informer.
"Tulsiram Prajapati was let off after he was picked up by the Gujarat Police along with Sohrabuddin. Then why did they let him off and eliminate only Sohrabuddin in an encounter? There are more unanswered questions," the sources said.
Tulsiram was 'eliminated' a year after Sohrabuddin's encounter by Vanzara's team but this time near Banaskantha district of Gujarat, when he was transferred as Border Range DIG.
The probe team has been working hard to get to the bottom of the matter following the Supreme Court directives.
The three arrested officials -- D G Vanzara (DIG Border Range), Rajkumar Pandiyan (SP Gujarat Intelligence Bureau) and Dineshkumar M N -- have been taken to certain places in Sabarkantha district (the home town of Vanzara) and also a farm house in the state capital Gandhinagar, where Kausar Bi is suspected to have been killed.
The CID is also probing if there was any sexual assault on Kausar and using the help of top forensic experts in getting any evidence of that nature.
Kausar Bi is feared to have been killed by policemen though the method is not yet known, and possibly burnt near the ravines of Ilol in Sabarkantha.
Police might consider registering a separate case in the connection with Kausar Bi as her murder took place at least three days after Sohrabuddin's encounter.