'Rs 10 crore paid to ministers, cops to kill Sohrabuddin'

'Rs 10 crore paid to ministers, cops to kill Sohrabuddin'

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Ahmedabad As the CBI  enters the final phase of its investigation in the Sohrabuddin Seikh fake encounter case , the Rajasthan dimension is getting bigger.

Azam Khan, a key witness in the Sohrabuddin encounter probe has told NDTV that politicians, including a Rajasthan BJP leader, were paid 10 crore rupees by the marble mafia to get Sohrabuddin killed.

Two Rajasthan BJP leaders - Om Mathur and Gulabchand Kataria - are suspected of serving as the link between the marble lobby that wanted Sohrabuddin killed, and Amit Shah.  Shah, who was arrested by the CBI last week, allegedly comissioned Gujarat police officers to kill Sohrabuddin.
 
Close aide of Sohrabbudin and now a key witness in the case, Azam Khan gave a statement to the CBI in February this year.  NDTV also  has details of that statement.

In his statement Khan alleges Abhay Chudasama, arrested in April this year in the Shorabuddin murder case, was involved in the extortion racket along with Sohrabuddin. Chudasama, a senior IPS officer is said to be close to Amit Shah, Gujarat's former Minister of State for Home. 

Khan says, Sohrabuddin was extorting money  from the 'marble lobby' on Chudasama's behalf. The  proceeds were divided -  Chudasama used to give Sohrabuddin 25 percent share of the extortion money and used keep 75 percent for himself.

Khan's statement claims that the former Home in Rajasthan, and BJP Leader Gulabchand  Kataria had kept most of the money paid Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed, and given the top cops some 'token payment'.

Gulab Chand Kataria, the former Home Minister of Rajasthan says, "Nobody from my party or any marble miners ever discussed this issue with me. I have nothing to do with all this."

Azam Khan's statement is based on what he says Tulsiram Prajapati told him, when they were lodged in the Udaipur Central jail in December 2005. Khan told investigators that it was Prajapati who had led DG Vanzara and his team from the Gujarat ATS to Sohrabuddin in November 2005.

Prajapati was killed in December 2006 in another fake encounter before the Gujarat CID probing the Sohrabuddin case could record his statement. He was the sole eye-witness in the killing of Sheikh after the elimination of his wife Kauserbi. DG Vanzara and MN Dinesh, IPS officer named in Sohrabuddin's killing, have also been named in the chargesheet filed in the Tulsiram Prajapati case. 

Azam Khan told NDTV, "They took Tulsiram alone for a hearing and booked me under a fake case. They managed to kill Tulsiram. We know that lots of prominent political leaders and the police were involved in this. They knew that Tulsiram was a key witness to the case and if the investigation starts then he would give a statement against them."

Om Mathur, currently a BJP MP to the Rajya Sabha and the then BJP General Secretary in-charge of Gujarat, is known to be close to Amit Shah. Gulabchand Kataria,  allegedly passed the money on from the traders to Amit Shah for those assigned to assassinate Sohrabuddin. 

With Shah's arrest, the likelihood of Narendra Modi being questioned, and now Rajasthan leaders being studied by the CBI, the Sohrabuddin case is likely to become an even larger worry for the BJP than it has been for the past few years.
Story First Published: July 31, 2010 19:17 IST

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