Ahmedabad, Sept. 23: The CBI today questioned Gujarat minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja in connection with the audiotapes of a 2011 meeting in which officials allegedly discussed how to derail investigations into the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.
The agency also summoned another minister, Bhupendrasinh Chudasma, and asked advocate-general Kamal Trivedi to appear before it.
Jadeja was questioned in Gandhinagar about the meeting, which was called to decide the strategy “to obstruct the investigation” into the deaths of the 19-year-old Mumbai girl and three others in allegedly fake encounters.
Sources said the minister was specifically asked “at whose behest the meeting was held and who had presided over it” — a question the CBI had also asked the principal secretary to chief minister, G.C. Murmu, and joint police commissioner A.K. Sharma on Saturday.
Suspended IPS officer G.L. Singhal, who was among the nine persons who attended the meeting, had secretly recorded the conversation and handed over two pen drives containing the audio tapes to the CBI. The meeting was held the night before the Gujarat High Court-appointed SIT, led by Satish Verma, was to submit a status report in the case.
Singhal was later arrested and is now out on bail.
The nine persons who were present in the meeting held in advocate-general Trivedi’s private chamber were Singhal, his lawyer Rohit Verma, Murmu, Sharma, then minister of state for home Praful Patel, Jadeja, Chudasma and suspended deputy superintendent of police Tarun Barot, also an accused in the case.
The pen drives, purported to contain the conversation of those at the meeting, are part of the chargesheet the CBI filed in the case.
The CBI has taken voice samples of the persons who attended the meeting and sent them to Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory for verification.
Last week, the agency had grilled suspended IPS officer D.G. Vanzara, who in his resignation letter accused the Narendra Modi government of betraying policemen after using them to promote its agenda.
The CBI in its chargesheet said seven police officers had shot Ishrat and three others in “cold blood” on June 15, 2004, and destroyed evidence.