M A I N   N E W S

Ishrat encounter was fake: CBI
Names 7 police officers in 1,500-page chargesheet
No mention of Modi, Amit Shah
Manas Dasgupta

Ahmedabad, July 3
The CBI today claimed that Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in a “fake encounter” in a joint operation by the Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau near Ahmedabad in 2004. The investigating agency, however, maintained silence over the role, if any, played by Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his then deputy Amit Shah in the case.

The CBI filed the much-awaited chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan case, naming seven Gujarat Police officers for the “cold-blooded murder” of four persons near Kotarpur on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on June 15, 2004.

Among the police officers chargesheeted for criminal conspiracy, abduction, wrongful confinement and murder included the “encounter specialist” and arrested former Deputy Inspector General of Police DG Vanzara and the “absconding” Additional Director General of Police PP Pandey, who was the then Joint Commissioner of the Ahmedabad crime branch that executed the operation. Vanzara has been in the jail for the past few years in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter and the murder of his wife Kausarbi.

The chargesheet filed in the Special CBI Court of HS Khutwad also named as accused Superintendent of Police GL Singhal, Deputy Superintendent NK Amin, the then police Inspectors Tarun Barot and JG Parmar and police commando Anaju Chaudhary.

It, however, made no mention of Modi or Shah and was also silent over the alleged “clearance” given by the “white beard” (suspected to be Modi) and “black beard” (believed to be Amit Shah) mentioned in a taped conversation in possession of the CBI between Vanzara and Rajinder Kumar and other involved police officers.

It recounted in detail how 19-year-old Mumbra (Mumbai) college girl Ishrat and her accomplice Pranesh Pillai, alias Javed Sheikh, were abducted by the Gujarat Police at Vasad, near Vadodara, and brought to Ahmedabad to be kept in confinement at a farmhouse for a few days before being killed in the “encounter”.

Other suspects

The chargesheet also named Joint Director of the Central Intelligence Bureau Rajinder Kumar as a suspect, but said the investigation against him and at least three other IB officers, including P Mittal, MK Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede “and others” was still continuing. A supplementary chargesheet would be filed later, if found necessary.

The chargesheet made it clear that Rajinder Kumar’s role in the case was suspect and it called for further investigation. Gujarat Police officers involved in the encounter and even Pandey had said that an IB alert that a Lashkar-e-Toiba module was out to assassinate Modi had triggered the shooting.

With Pandey, now declared a proclaimed absconder by the CBI court, is yet to be questioned by the CBI, it has held back on arraigning Rajinder Kumar as an accused though it has stated in the chargesheet that the killing was a Gujarat Police-IB joint operation. During the CBI questioning, Kumar said though he shared information with the police about the possibility of Ishrat and the others being terrorists, he did not sanction the encounter.

The chargesheet did not include names of the 11 other police officials who were named in the original FIR but not chargesheeted for lack of concrete evidences against them. The chargesheet named police constable Mohan Kalwasa, who, it said, had actually opened fire on Ishrat and killed her, but could not be included in the chargesheet because he died pending the investigation.

Concrete evidence

The CBI has claimed that it has concrete evidence against the police officers named in the chargesheet. It is mostly based on statements made before a magistrate by some police personnel who were present on the spot and the watchmen of the farmhouses where Ishrat, Javed Sheikh and two other Pakistani nationals killed with them, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar, were kept in unlawful confinement. According to the chargesheet, Ishrat and Javed had been in the custody of the Gujarat Police since the first week of June.

CBI lawyer IS Saiyed walked into the Special CBI Court after 5 pm to inform Judge Khutvad that the “very bulky” chargesheet had been sent to the court custody, while a gist of that was being presented and read out in the courtroom. He gave enough indications that a supplementary chargesheet was in the offing, though he refused to give any time frame for that.

The chargesheet seeks to establish a Crime Branch-Intelligence Bureau nexus when it states that under instructions from his superior officer Vanzara, Singhal went to the IB office on June 14 and collected a bag of weapons that were used in the encounter a day later.

It also says that Kumar and Pandey interacted with Ishrat and Javed at Khodiar farmhouse on the outskirts of Ahmedabad where they were kept for some days before the encounter. It has conclusive evidence that Ishrat was abducted by NK Amin and Tarun Barot from near the Vasad toll booth on the Vadodara-Ahmedabad highway. The interaction between the two top policemen and Ishrat conclusively establishes that it was a staged encounter and that she was in the custody of the police prior to her elimination along with three others.

Terror link

Under instructions from the Gujarat High Court, the chargesheet refrained from speculating whether Ishrat and others were “terrorists”, but said all four were kept in illegal confinement before being killed and a major police deployment was enforced in Ahmedabad to cover up the encounter.

The car belonging to Javed Sheikh, in which the four persons were alleged to be “travelling” at the time of the encounter was driven to the spot by a police personal and the weapons picked up from the IB were planted on the bodies at the instructions of Vanzara to give it a look of genuine encounter, the chargesheet said. 

What happened in 2004

* June 15, 2004: Mumbai college girl Ishrat (19) and her accomplice Pranesh Pillai, alias Javed Sheikh, and Pakistani nationals Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar killed in a joint operation by the Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau on the outskirts of Ahmedabad

*The Gujarat Police claimed the four were part of a Lashkar-e-Toiba module out to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi





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