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Delhi Police officer to head probe team in Ishrat Jahan case

Friday, September 24, 2010 09:16:05 PM, IANS

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Gujarat High Court gets free hand in Ishrat Jahan case

The Supreme Court Monday said the Gujarat High Court is free to appoint any agency to investigate the 2004 Ishrat Jahan shootout killing in Ahmedabad. The apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershann Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar passed   

Ishrat Jahan case: Centre gets last chance on SIT

Gandhinagar: The Gujarat High Court Friday constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by a senior Delhi Police officer, to probe the killing of college student Ishrat Jahan in a suspected staged shootout in 2004.

The SIT will be led by Delhi joint police commissioner Karnail Singh, and have two Gujarat cadre IPS officers, Mohan Jha and Satish Verma as members. The state government had submitted eleven names, the central government five names and the petitioners had submitted four names for the court's consideration to appoint the new SIT.

A division bench comprising Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari strongly criticized the stand taken by the Gujarat government of forming a Special Task Force and a monitoring agency by a notification dated Sep 16, which the state considered as an option available to the court for its consideration.

When the court asked the state as to what it seeks from the court after filing of its affidavit, the advocate general contended that the state government "does not want outsiders to come to the state and carry out investigation". He submitted that the officers of the state were capable enough to carry out impartial and independent investigation. He further submitted that investigation from officers outside the state would demoralize the state police.

Following this submission, the court came down heavily on the state government and the advocate general. The court noted that India was "one" nation and outsiders would mean persons outside India. The court expressed that the state's submission and affidavit was to indirectly dilute the judicial order of a constitutional court through an executive order.

The court rejected the stand taken by the state government. The court also directed the government to provide necessary infrastructure and facilities to the new SIT. The new SIT has been directed to submit report within three months. The decision came after a review petition was filed by the petitioners and a letter by the apex court-appointed SIT showing its inability to carry out the probe.

The apex court directed the high court to constitute an investigation team of its own but came out against handing over the probe to the R.K. Raghavan-headed SIT appointed by it to investigate the key 2002 communal riot cases in Gujarat. The Gujarat High Court on Aug 12, had handed over investigation of the case to the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) which was later stayed by the apex court.

Mukul Sinha, the counsel for Gopinath Pillai, father of Javed alias Pranesh Pillai who was killed in the alleged staged shoot-out alongside Ishrat Jahan and others, had suggested the names of DIG Rahul Sharma, DIG Rajnish Rai, IG Satish Verma, and Additional DGP Tirth Raj. However, counsel for Ishrat Jahan's mother Shamima Kausar sought only a CBI probe and refused to propose any names.

Mumbai college girl Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an alleged staged shootout on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in June 2004, by a team of the Ahmedabad Crime branch headed by D.G. Vanzara, who is now in jail on connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh staged shootout case. The four were termed by the crime branch as part of the Lashkar-e-Taiba outfit out to eliminate Chief Minister Narendra Modi.




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