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Ishrat Jahan case: 14 Gujarat cops now seek CBI probe

Wednesday April 27, 2011 09:03:46 AM, IANS

Gandhinagar: In a turnround, 14 Gujarat police officers Tuesday urged the Gujarat High Court to reconstitute its special probe team in the Ishrat Jahan staged shootout or hand the case over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The plea comes days after the high court redistributed work among the members of its Special Investigation Team, relieving Karnail Singh as its head and handing over investigation fully to Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Satish Verma while putting the other member, Mohan Jha, in charge of administration.

With Verma aggressively pursuing the case and now empowered by the high court to make arrests, the 14, including IPS officer G.L.Singhal, Deputy Superintendent of Police Tarun Barot, three other officers of equivalent rank and four inspectors, claimed, in their petition, that they were being victimised.

Mentioning their grievance against Verma, they have expressed fears of prejudicial and coercive steps against them and alleged Verma is acting either at the behest of or in connivance with senior IPS officers who have personal grudges against them.

They claimed that Verma has been using "extra legal" probe methods to implicate them in the case, citing examples of some officers against whom Verma allegedly used coercive tactics to get their statements recorded.

The petitioners sought the court either amend its earlier order or to form a new SIT consisting of IPS officers from any state other than Gujarat, or otherwise the investigation should be given to the CBI.

The court however rejected to entertain their plea Tuesday stating that there was no urgency of the matter. It said that the matter can be heard on May 12 when the hearing of the case is scheduled.

A division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari formed a SIT comprising Karnail Singh, Jha and Verma, directing it to probe if the shoot-out was genuinene.

In the last hearing, the court allowed Singh to be relieved from his duties as the chairman of SIT upon his request.

Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were gunned down in outskirts of Ahmedabad in June 2004 by the crime branch officers, who termed the four as Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives on a mission to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.




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