Cop involved in encounter killing booked for corruption

ACB officials stated that Sonara was caught in a trap they had laid. After receiving the amount, Sonara also dialed Bharwad to confirm the payment, police officials said.

A controversial Gujarat Police officer, whose role was established in a fake encounter in a probe led by retired Supreme Court judge H S Bedi, has been booked by state's Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) allegedly for demanding Rs 8 lakh bribe from a complainant for "not beating up or interrogating" his friend who was caught under arms act.

The ACB's Rajkot unity registered an FIR against Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) J M Bharwad after his junior armed constable Vishal Sonara was caught red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs 8 lakh from the complainant allegedly on behalf of Bharwad.

ACB officials stated that Sonara was caught in a trap they had laid. After receiving the amount, Sonara also dialed Bharwad to confirm the payment, police officials said.

Bharwad is currently posted as DySP in Jetpur, Rajkot.

Last year, he had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against making justice Bedi's report on 17 police encounters in the state, public.

In his affidavit, he had said that "strangers can't be permitted to analyse the evidence gathered during a criminal investigation by supplying them with the reports."  

The apex court had entrusted its ex-judge Bedi to probe the cases in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by journalist B G Verghese and lyricist Javed Akhar among others.

A special task force (STF) had also been formed to probe the cases which were monitored by justice Bedi who later submitted that his report to the apex court in 2018.

The report, which was shared with petitioners in January this year, held that Samir Khan Pathan, Haji Ismail, and Kasim Jafer were killed in a fake encounter.

The report also suggested prosecution of the accused policemen for murder. Bharwad is accused of killing Kasim Jafer in police custody.  

In his affidavit, Bhaward had claimed in the apex court that sharing the report with petitioners "would result into a position where strangers would be debating about the possibility of guilt or otherwise of police officers including the present."

It said "there is a likelihood of the applicant (Bharwad) and many other honest police officers being affected by the orders which may be passed in the present petitions which are absolutely motivated and nothing but abuse of process of law."

Stating that he moved this affidavit in his official capacity, Bharwad has said that the petitions have been under the "garb" of a PIL by "complete strangers to the situation prevailing in the state like the state of Gujarat which has the longest coastline with Pakistan... and a direct land route to Pakistan through district of Kutch."

He claimed in the affidavit that "none of the petitioners are aware about infiltration of various terrorist/criminal conduits in the state of Gujarat, inter alia due to geographical proximity with the neighbouring country."

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