The Ministry of Internal Affairs main office in Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Ministry of Internal Affairs has opened an investigation into the 2008 disappearance and murder of Paata Kardava, an intelligence officer at the Ministry of Defense.

The investigation centers on Roman Shamatava, former head of the Constitutional Security Department’s main department of Abkhazia, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said Friday.

Shamatava is detained regarding his role in the so-called Khurcha incident. This was a shooting on May 21, 2008, against two buses in Khurcha, near Zugdidi, on the border with Abkhazia. The buses were carrying locals on their way to vote in the parliamentary election that day.

Officials in the National Movement government claimed it had been a terrorist act aimed at creating tension in the country, but there was a suspicion that the government was lying.

After the National Movement lost power and there was a change of government in 2012, there was a new investigation into the incident. In November, 2013, officials in the new government stated that Saakashvili’s government carried out this terrorist attack in order to scare the population and make people believe that only they could maintain peace in the country, and thus make people vote for them.

The Interior Ministry detained Roman Shamatava in the case.

Now, the ministry claims that Shamatava is connected to the disappearance and murder of Paata Kardava; an intelligence officer at the Defense Ministry.

The Prosecutor’s Office and the Interior Ministry’s Security Agency conducted a joint investigation in the case and concluded that Roman Shamatava in late August, 2008, instructed employees of the Interior Ministry’s Special Operations Department (SOD) to kidnap Paata Kardava and take him to Batumi.

Kardava was driving his car on August 27, 2008, in Zugdidi when a group of people ‘threatened him with gun and took him.’ He was blindfolded and taken to the village Shekvetili, near Ozurgeti, and in accordance with a prepared plan, his car was left in a Khurcha in order to create misleading traces.

Investigators claim that Roman Shamatava and his accomplices took Kardava in Batumi, where Roman Shamatava accused Kardava of cooperating with Abkhazian separatists, after which he beat Kardava, who denied being connected to separatists.

Shamatava then ordered Kardava brought into a motor boat belonging to Constitutional Security Department in Adjara, waiting in the port. Chained and blindfolded, Kadava was put into boat. Shamatava tied concrete to his feet. They sailed about 10 km away from the shore, Shamatava shot him in head so he died, and dropped him in the sea.

The reason Kardava was murdered is still unknown, but several similar crimes took place in the same period.

Kardava family members blame Tengiz Gunava, UNM candidate for Zugdidi gamgebeli office, to be either involved in the killing or at least well aware about it. Kardava’s daughter, in tears, said to journalists that Gunava many times assured the family that the missing officer was alive and would soon return to the family.

Gunava, who served as a Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti police chief, vehemently denied the version of investigation.

Senior Sergeant Roma Shavadze, who was an intelligence officer serving in the 23rd light infantry battalion in Senaki from December 1, 2005, to June 1, 2006, served in the mission in Iraq. Earlier he was trained by American trainers with other Georgian soldiers. He won awards and certificates from Georgia and the US.

August 16, 2008, he was tortured and murdered. It  happened two days after he returned from the Russia-Georgia war. He was tortured and shot. An investigation was launched for deliberate murder and illegal possession of drugs. The Saakashvili government reported that Shavadze tried to escape and law enforcers had to shot him, while several senior UNM members acknowledged that Shavadze was a traitor, a Russian spy, and indirectly justify the brutal murder.

Another theory is that the Saakashvili government got rid of Shavadze because he knew things that were undesirable for the government.

There was also a case about the disappearance of Davit Tsindeliani, who is still reported missing, but there are claims that he was murdered just like Shavadze. He used to work at the environment protection inspection. He had a phone conversation with a Russian girl, his acquaintance, during the 2008 war, after which he was accused of reporting military secrets. Tsindeliani was summoned ostensibly for the meeting in Tbilisi, in the Forestry Department, and disappeared on the way to the capital.