Court rejects CBI plea to send PP Pandey in judicial custody

A CBI court rejected an application of the Central Bureau of Investigation seeking judicial custody of Additional DGP PP Pandey.

Ahmedabad: A CBI court here on Wednesday rejected an application of the Central Bureau of Investigation seeking judicial custody of Additional DGP P P Pandey in the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case.

The Gujarat High Court had yesterday restrained the central investigation agency from arresting Pandey till August 6 and also directed the Special CBI judge, Court No 2 to hear afresh the anticipatory bail application of Pandey.

It also asked Pandey to remain present before ACJM everyday till August 6.

CBI counsel Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising, after moving the application, today argued that the CBI court had declared Pandey a proclaimed absconder and hence, the senior IPS officer should be sent in judicial custody.

Judge HS Khutwad, however, rejected the application of the CBI, citing High Court direction and saying that it is not maintainable at this stage.

Pandey`s counsel Nirupam Nanavati argued that the order passed by the High Court is abundantly clear and if the applicant is sent in judicial custody, the orders passed by the HC would become inoperative.

Pandey today appeared in the court on a wheel-chair.

The application by CBI seeking Pandey`s judicial custody is to frustrate High Court`s orders and defeat the order of HC which had asked the special CBI court to hear afresh the anticipatory bail plea, Nanavati argued.

Taking Pandey in judicial custody will tantamount to over-reaching the orders of High Court and interfering with its directions, he further argued.

The CBI has filed a malafide application and it is chasing this applicant, he said, adding that they never expected that an apex, impartial investigation agency would file such an application.

The Supreme Court had last Friday asked Pandey to appear before the trial court, presided over by additional chief judicial magistrate H S Khutwad, on July 29 and offered him protection from arrest by CBI till that date.

Pandey was admitted to a city hospital on Sunday after
he complained of chest pain and other medical complications. He was brought to the court in an ambulance and appeared before the judge on a stretcher.

The 1982-batch IPS officer was Joint Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad Crime Branch, when Mumbai girl Ishrat, her friend Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai and their associates Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were gunned down on June 15, 2004 on the city`s outskirts.

Crime Branch had then claimed the four were terrorists on a mission to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The CBI, which probed the case, in its charge sheet termed the encounter as "fake" and a joint operation between Gujarat police and IB.

The agency named seven senior Gujarat Police officials, including Pandey, as accused and charged them with murder and criminal conspiracy.


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