Why Centre keen about CBI probe in Ishrat case, asks Guj Govt

The Gujarat government today filed an affidavit in the High Court questioning the keenness of the Centre for a CBI probe into the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others.

Updated: Jul 21, 2010, 23:45 PM IST

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government today
filed an affidavit in the High Court questioning the keenness
of the Centre for a CBI probe into the alleged fake encounter
of Ishrat Jahan and three others.

In an affidavit filed by secretary of home department T S
Bist before a division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and
Abhilasha Kumari, the state has strongly objected to transfer
of the case to CBI, which has been demanded by kin of those
killed in the encounter.

In serious terrorist strikes, like the Parliament attack,
26/11 Mumbai strike, Akshardham attack or Ahmedabad serial
blasts, the police of respective states have investigated it
successfully, the affidavit said.

Also in Gujarat the number of encounters is very less as
compared to other states bordering Pakistan, it said.

"The Centre may be called upon to point out as to in how
many cases in these states it has shown its keen overzealous
preparedness to take up investigation through CBI," the
affidavit stated.

Ishrat was gunned down by Gujarat Police along with Javed
Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias
Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana and Jisan Johar Abdul Gani in
Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.

The Gujarat police had claimed Ishrat and the three
others were LeT operatives on a mission to kill Chief Minister
Narendra Modi and carry out attacks on various parts of India
including Gujarat.

They had further said the encounter was carried out based
on specific inputs from the Central intelligence.

The advocate general of Gujarat High Court Kamal Trivedi
appearing on behalf of the state, not only objected to CBI
probe in the case, but also expressed strong reservations
against inclusion of any officer of central agencies like CBI
or NIA in the special investigation team (SIT) constituted by
the HC to probe the encounter.

Yesterday the court had sought the state government`s
response on reconstitution of SIT to which the state
government insisted that only police officers of Gujarat be
included in the SIT.

The government also said the same SIT should be allowed
to continue, since the petitioners have also not expressed any
discontent against its functioning.

Assistant Solicitor General Pankaj Champaneri, appearing
for the Centre, reiterated the union government`s stand that
it is ready for CBI probe.

Also, CBI`s counsel Yogesh Ravani told the court that
transfer of entire probe to CBI would be more comfortable for
the investigating agency than inclusion of some officers of
CBI in SIT.

The court has sought opinion of all litigants on
involvement of officers of central agencies in SIT "for better
functioning so far as coordination and administration aspects
are concerned".

The litigants include Ishrat`s mother Shamima Kausar and
Javed`s father Gopinath Pillai.

PTI