Zee Media Bureau
Ahmedabad: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday filed the chargesheet in the high-profile Ishrat Jahan encounter case in a local court here and said that the 19-year-old college student was killed in a `fake` encounter in 2004 in a joint operation by Gujarat police and the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau.
The CBI also said that three others - Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Shaikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar - were killed along with Ishrat.
The three were identified as terror suspects by the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
The CBI made it clear that they found no evidence that they had come to Gujarat to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The CBI told the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate HS Khutwad that Ishrat along with three others were kept in illegal confinement before they were killed.
The CBI also told the court that offence has been established against ADGP PP Pandey, and suspended police officers DG Vanzara, GL Singhal, Tarun Barot, NK Amin, JG Parmar and Anaju Chaudhary. "The cops have been charged of criminal conspiracy, wrongful confinement and murder," CBI lawyer, SK Saiyaad told reporters.
The conspiracy, the chargesheet says, was hatched by Pandey, DIG Vanzara and Rajinder Kumar, who was then posted as Joint Director of the SIB in Gujarat.
It says that crime branch officer Amin and Barot had taken Ishrat and Javed Sheikh into their custody on June 12 from a toll booth at Vasad in Anand district with the help of MK Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede of the IB.
The document says that the four killed in the encounter were in prior custody of Gujarat police and, in fact, Ishrat and Javed were interrogated by Rajinder Kumar at a farm house on the city outskirts where they were kept in confinement.
"On June 13, 2003 Vanzara, Pandey, Kumar and Amin had gone to the farm house and interrogated Ishrat and Javed," the chargesheet said.
The other two were also brought to Ahmedabad before the encounter was staged and were kept at separate locations, it said.
All the four were taken to a place near Kotarpur waterworks, the encounter spot, on the outskirts of the city on June 15, 2003 and were killed in cold blood, as per the CBI.
Police officers Amin, Barot, Anaju and Mohan Kalashwa, the police commando guarding Vanzara, made them stand near the road divider and fired on them, the chargesheet said. Kalashwa has since died and has not been named in the document.
It also said that the weapons including AK-47 rifles found from the encounter spot and claimed to be of those shot in the encounter, were procured by Gujarat police officer Singhal from SIB.
But in an important turn of events the probe agency is silent on whether Ishrat and those accompanying her were terrorists or not. "Nothing has been said on Ishrat`s terror links," Saiyaad confirmed.
The CBI said that there was no mandate from the High Court to investigate their status.
The CBI did not name IB officer Rajinder Kumar as accused in the case, as it did not have enough evidence against him for now. However, the probe agency has maintained that his role in the encounter is still under probe. "Investigation is on against Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau Rajinder Kumar and four officers of the agency," the CBI told the court.
The CBI had earlier questioned Kumar in connection with the case. He was heading the SIB at the time of the encounter.
The chargesheet, runs into more than 1,500 pages, including 179 witnesses` statements.
Ishrat, Javed Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were gunned down in a police encounter in 2004 by the Crime Branch officials of the Gujarat police. The Gujarat police later claimed that those killed in the encounter were members of LeT on a mission to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The probe agency is also expected to file a supplementary chargesheet on the conspiracy angle in the killing by the end of July.
The Ishrat Jahan case has seen an escalation in war of wars between the Congress party and the main opposition Bhartiya Janata Party. BJP leaders have time and again said that the Congress is using the investigating agency as a tool to get back at Narendra Modi and malign him and that the case had been reduced to a `political battle`.
The BJP has maintained all along that the Ishrat Jahan shootout was not staged and was conducted on the basis of information received from the IB.
With PTI inputs