Ahmedabad: Nine years after the alleged fake encounter involving Ishrat Jahan and three others, the stage is set for the trial in the case when a special CBI court committed the case on Tuesday to the sessions court here.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) H S Khutwad of the CBI court ordered to commit the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter killing case to the sessions court for trial against seven accused cops including suspended IPS officer P P Pandey.
On July 3, 2013, the CBI filed the chargesheet against seven accused Gujarat cops including P P Pandey, D G Vanzara, G L Singhal, Tarun Barot, N K Amin, J G Parmar and Anaju Chaudhary. In its chargesheet, the CBI had stated that the encounter was fake.
All seven were charged under the provisions of Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, among others, which attracts punishment of life imprisonement and more, and such a case can be tried only before the sessions court.
The next date of hearing has been fixed on September 10, when sessions court will decide futher procedure in the case, said advocate Brijrajsinh Jhala who is representing G L Singhal in this case. Mumbra college girl Ishrat (19), Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in the encounter with the Gujarat police on the outskirts of the city on June 15, 2004.
At that time, the Gujarat police had claimed that all four were "terrorists" who entered the city to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
After the petitions by families of Ishrat and Javed, the Gujarat High Court set up a Special Investigation Team(SIT) which concluded that all the four were in the prior custody of the Gujarat police and the encounter was fake.
After the SIT report, the Gujarat High Court handed over the investigation to the CBI and monitored the investigation until the central agency filed its chargesheet.
Four of the accused, namely G L Singhal, Tarun Barot, J G Parmar and Anaju Chaudhary had to be granted bail as the CBI had not filed a chargesheet against them within the stipulated 90 days of their arrest.
However, Barot and Parmar are in jail in connection with their alleged involvement in another fake encounter case of Sadik Jamal.
P P Pandey, finally surrendered before the court after evading arrest for more then three months, while D G Vanzara and N K Amin are in jail under judicial custody.
In its chargesheet, the CBI said that the so called Ishrat Jahan "encounter" was a joint operation of Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau (IB). It also mentioned the role of three Intelligence Bureau officers including the recently retired Special Director of IB Rajendra Kumar.