Ishrat Case: Rift in SIT comes to light before HC

The rift within the SIT probing the Ishrat Jahan `fake` encounter over the move to appoint an amicus curie came to the fore prompting the Gujarat High Court to ask whether there was any "groupism" in the team.

Last Updated: Jan 14, 2011, 21:35 PM IST

Ahmedabad: The rift within the SIT probing
the Ishrat Jahan `fake` encounter over the move to appoint an
amicus curie came to the fore prompting the Gujarat High Court
to ask whether there was any "groupism" in the team.

The court also said that it will have to work out a
functioning-model for the three-member Special Investigation
Team (SIT) to ensure that "sanctity and spirit of its order is
not paralyzed due to difference of opinions amongst members."
SIT member Satish Verma, who yesterday filed an
affidavit before the division bench of Justices Jayant Patel
and Abhilasha Kumari, has also complained about the `attitude`
of its chairman Karnal Singh.

The division bench was hearing the application filed
by Singh seeking appointment of an amicus curie for providing
legal assistance to SIT, yesterday.

Verma has claimed in the affidavit that Singh
approached the court in his "personal capacity" without
taking him into confidence, and the application was moved
without a consensus within the SIT.

He further submitted that appointment of a lawyer is
the state government`s responsibility and an amicus curie is
supposed to be neutral and one who cannot advise the SIT.

The High Court directed Singh to remain present on
January 28 along with other members of SIT, when the next
hearing will take place.
It also asked whether there was any "groupism" in the
SIT, to which Verma submitted that there were differences and
Singh`s attitude to the case was such that investigation would
ultimately suffer.

The other SIT member, Mohan Jha, who was also present,
informed the court that Singh had informally discussed the
issue of getting legal assistance during a meeting at a guest
house in Mehsana.

Backing Singh, Jha said that such differences between
members could hamper investigation.

The present three-member SIT was formed by the Gujarat
High Court on September 24, 2010 to probe the `fake` encounter
near Ahmedabad in 2004 involving the Crime Branch in which
Mumbai-based Ishrat Jahan, Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh
Kumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana and
Jisan Johar Abdul Gani were killed.

PTI