Jaipur, Feb 17 (IANS) With the Supreme Court’s March 8 deadline for a status report fast approaching, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has speeded up its investigation into criminal Dara Singh’s death in a shoot-out outside Jaipur in 2006.
While on the list of suspects are two senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers and a former minister of the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government, the agency has recently questioned many possible witnesses in the case in Sikar district. Informed sources say the agency might make an arrest in the case soon.
Sikar remained the den of Singh until he was gunned down by a team of Rajasthan Police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) on the outskirts of the state capital Oct 23, 2006.
Afterwards, Singh’s widow registered a case at Mansarovar police station in Jaipur against four police officers, including Additional Director General of Police A.K.Jain and Inspector General of Police A.Ponnuchami, and alleged the shoot-out was staged.
The Supreme Court in the first week of January lambasted the agency for slow pace of investigation and directed it to submit the status report in the case by March 8.
According to the sources, those being questioned by the CBI in Shekhawati area of Sikar have criminal background and were close to Singh.
They added the CBI is trying to prove that Singh’s killing was a fall-out of rivalry between two gangs of liquor mafia, one of which had the patronage of the BJP leader. The CBI had reportedly quizzed Jain at the agency’s headquarters in New Delhi Jan 25, a day after Ponnuchami was questioned.
“A CBI team is camping in the district for the past one month and has questioned several possible witnesses. These people had been members of liquor mafia gangs in the past and have many criminal cases registered against them,” said a senior police officer of Sikar on condition of anonymity.
CBI Superintendent of Police R.S. Punia, who is heading the investigation, refused to comment.
After the Soharabuddin Sheikh staged shootout and killing near Ahmedabad in Gujarat, this is the second case that has put the state’s political leaders and IPS officers in the dock.
In the Soharabuddin Sheikh case which took place in Gujarat in 2006, the names of Rajasthan’s former home minister Gulabchand Kataria and former state president Om Mathur had come up. Rajasthan IPS officer Dinesh M.N. is behind bars for his alleged involvement in Sheikh’s killing.