A Special Investigation Team in Kerala has launched a probe into the death of Gopinatha Pillai, father of Pranesh Kumar Pillai alias Javed Ghulam Sheikh who was shot dead in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004.
78-year old Gopinatha Pillai got injured in a road accident on Wednesday, April 11, and he succumbed to his injuries on Friday. The car he was travelling in collided with a lorry in Vayalar Kavala in Alappuzha district.
The police has taken into custody four vehicles which were involved in the accident. A Special Investigation Team was formed to rule out any foul play. The SIT is headed by Chethala DySP AG Lal.
“So far we haven’t found any evidence which suggests any foul play in the death. Forensic experts are checking the evidence. We have taken custody of the vehicles which were involved in the accident,” Pattanakad Sub Inspector B Shajimon, who is a part of the SIT, told TNM.
Keralites got familiar with the name of Gopinatha Pillai, hailing from Charummodu in Alappuzha district, after the death of Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Ishrat Jahan, and two others – Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar – hit the headlines in 2004.
The four of them were shot by the Gujarat police in June 2004. They were killed near Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. The police accused them of being Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives. They were accused of being on a mission to assassinate the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The incident has widely been criticised, and called a fake encounter.
Gopinatha Pillai, a retired teacher, is a petitioner in the case. In 2011 when the Special Investigation Team submitted to the Gujarat High Court that his son was killed in a fake encounter, Pillai said that he was much relieved as no one would call him father of a terrorist. Pranesh alias Javed had converted to Islam to marry a Muslim woman.