Zee Media Bureau
Ahmedabad: At a time when Narendra Modi appears all set to be the BJP’s face in 2014, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has claimed that Gujarat Chief Minister and his former junior home minister Amit Shah knew of the plan to kill Ishrat Jahan and her three accomplices in alleged staged killings.
As per reports, the CBI claims to have the testimony of a cop who heard now-jailed DIG D G Vanzara, accused of killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauserbi, besides Ishrat, telling Rajinder Kumar of Intelligence Bureau that both `safed dadhi` (grey beard) and `kaali dadhi` (black beard) had approved the plan to kill Ishrat, a 19-year-old from Mumbra and three others. Code words grey beard and black beard were used to identify Modi and Shah.
Vanzara spoke to Amit Shah twice just hours before the encounter and also post the killing on the morning of June 15, 2004, the CBI claimed. However, the CBI is yet to examine the veracity of the evidence.
Ishrat, a Mumbai college student, and her three associates – Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Jeeshan Johar – were killed in an encounter with the Gujarat police on June 15, 2004.
Ishrat Jahan, Javed alias Pranesh Pillai and two others were gunned down by Ahmedabad Crime Branch on the ground that they were terrorists on a mission to assassinate Narendra Modi.
The Gujarat government has taken a cautious stand on the issue even as it awaits the formal filing of charge sheet by the investigating agency.
Another report claimed that the CBI charge sheet, likely to be filed on July 4, will claim that Ishrat’s encounter was staged and Rajinder Kumar, then head of the Gujarat unit of the IB, had colluded with the cops to have Ishrat and her three associates killed.
Following reports that he had known in advance of the Ishrat Jahan “fake” encounter, Modi hit out at the Centre accusing it of misusing the CBI.
Modi, speaking on “good governance through democracy” at the Bombay Stock Exchange last evening, charged the UPA with “devaluing and destroying institutions” of governance.
“Those who cannot accept democratic victory and defeat are engaged in political witch-hunting. Had I not experienced it personally, I wouldn’t have known that they misuse the CBI to such an extent,” he said.
“The CBI’s misuse will destroy the democratic fabric of this country. Now it (the Centre) is pitting the CBI versus the IB…. The IB is being forced to reveal its informers,” Modi alleged.