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AP cops grilled, IPS officers plan anti-CBI protest

ndian Police Service officers in Andhra Pradesh are planning to protest against the CBI for interrogating several senior policemen in the Sohrabuddin Shaik encounter case. The state IPS officers' association is likely to hold an executive committee meeting soon to discuss the situation. The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Aftab Alam has directed the CBI to finish the AP angle of the probe soon.

Following this, the CBI team based in Ahmadabad has summoned two senior IPS officers — N. Balasubramanyam and K. Aravind Rao — this month and questioned them for over five hours each about the logistical cooperation extended by the AP policemen to their Gujarat counterparts in bumping off Sohrabuddin, his wife Kauser Bi and their associate Tusli Prajapathi in October 2005.

"This Sohrabuddin encounter is a vexed case and nothing came out of almost four years of probe into the role of the AP police. But because of directions from the Supreme Court, the CBI wants to fix some of us anyhow," a senior office bearer of the AP IPS officers' association told this newspaper.

The state IPS officials are worried because the Sohrabuddin case has been entrusted with CBI joint director V.V. Lakshminarayana, the chief of the Hyderabad-Karnataka zone. Lakshminarayana, the IPS officers allege, has an "arbitrary style of investigation". Henceforth, the AP angle of the probe will be supervised by Lakshminarayana.

The bad blood between the IPS lobby and Lakshminarayana has been running deep after the arrest of IAS officer Y. Srilakshmi in the Obulapuram mining case. Srilakshmi, wife of senior IPS officer M. Gopikrishan, was first granted bail by the CBI special court, but due to the dogged efforts made by Lakshminarayana, the High Court cancelled the bail. "We have no objections if the CBI goes for an appeal against the bail granted by a lower court and gets it cancelled. What worries us is the personalised style of witch-hunting by a particular CBI official," said a senior IPS official.

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