LAHORE: The head of the joint investigation team (JIT) probing into the assassination attempt on former prime minister Imran Khan in Wazirabad has proposed departmental action against four senior members of the panel for allegedly handling the probe unprofessionally and damaging the high-profile case.
Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, who heads the JIT, has also proposed action against two other senior police officers, including Gujrat DPO Syed Ghazanfar Ali Shah and an SSP CTD, who isn’t part of the probe team, for allegedly recording a video statement of the prime suspect arrested from the attack spot and leaking it to the media.
In his report sent to the additional chief secretary (home), Mr Dogar has leveled allegations of non-professionalism, misuse of office, tampering with evidence and leaking of confidential information about the investigation to the media against the probe team members.
These allegations follow a letter the four members recently wrote to the CCPO, expressing serious reservations over the way he was trying to influence the investigation process, and also disputed claims that there were multiple shooters involved in the attack.
Lahore CCPO suggests penalising officials for recording, leaking video of prime suspect
An officer privy to the information told Dawn that the CCPO said in his report that he had recommended to the government on Nov 29 the removal of RPO Shah from the team for not taking interest in the investigation, but no action was taken.
He further claimed Mr Shah had attended only two meetings since the formation of the JIT and on being asked about his absence, he would make an excuse that he was busy with the operation against criminals in the katcha area.
He further said despite collecting several bullet shells from the roof of a building near the attack site in Wazirabad, SP Tariq allegedly distorted facts showing as lone wolf attacking Mr Khan.
In the first meeting of the JIT on Nov 16, the CCPO had tasked SSP Naseebullah and SP Tariq with investigating the case from three aspects, including why a video recording of the prime arrested suspect was recorded and leaked to the media, why a first information report was lodged late and why the arrest of the prime suspect was mentioned in the police record with a considerable delay.
However, the officers neither visited the crime scene nor investigated the case on these lines despite the court also directing them to do so as well as seeking a report on it, the source said, adding the CCPO also mentioned in his report that the officers did not call the Gujrat DPO and the CTD SSP over the recoding and leak of the suspect’s video.
He said the two video statements of the suspect, who was in the CTD’s custody, recorded at a police station in the presence of the Gujrat DPO were contradictory, which ruined the investigation.
On the next hearing of the case on Nov 29, when the court sought a report, the two officers failed to produce anything bringing embarrassment for the JIT head, the CCPO complained in his report.
About AIG Chohan, the official quoted Mr Dogar as saying in the report that he had not joined the team for 15 days since its formation. Later when he did join, Mr Chohan didn’t fulfil his responsibility of investigating the suspect.
The JIT convener further alleged that an investigation officer, Inspector Sohdara Imtiaz, had collected important evidences from the crime scene which confirmed the involvement of multiple shooters, but the JIT members tried to damage the proof.
During a search operation, he further said, around 30 bullet shells were found from a building near the Wazirabad attack site and SP Tariq had recorded a video of the crime scene. However, despite recording the video, the officer reported there was only one shooter.
CCPO Dogar further claimed the team members neither informed him in writing nor verbally about their findings. They prepared a report and leaked it to the media, he lamented.
Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2023