The Gujarat high court on Tuesday allowed CBI's plea for shifting out IPS officer Satish Verma from the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case probe as it directed the agency conclude its investigation and file its charge sheet by July 4.
The agency had approached the court for allowing it to disassociate Verma, a 1986 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, from the probe. The officer was part of the Special Investigation team constituted by the high court to look into the case.
After the case was handed over to CBI, Verma's services were retained by the agency.
In its three-point order today, the CBI was also directed to focus and conclude its probe about alleged illegal custody of the deceased -- Ishrat, Javed Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar -- and the subsequent fake encounter by July 4.
The CBI on the instruction of the High Court has taken over the probe of the case in which 19-year-old Ishrat, Sheikh, Rana and Johar were killed in Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004 allegedly by Crime Branch team led by DIG DG Vanzara.
During a hearing last week, the court had rapped the CBI for delay in filing its charge sheet in the case and also asked it to ascertain the genuineness of the encounter.
The high court had also asked the CBI to explain why it failed to file the charge sheet within 90 days of the arrest of accused, to which CBI had responded that it is very large case of conspiracy and investigation has led it from one point to another which has caused the delay.
The court had also taken note of media reports that CBI director had decided to discontinue the services of IPS officer Verma and asked the agency to clarify whether they needed further services of Verma or not.
On this, CBI lawyer Ejaz Khan had made it clear that agency needed the services of Verma till the investigation concludes.
In her written statement to media, Ishrat's mother Shahmima Kauser demanded justice for her daughter by punishing the guilty.
"I have a right to know the complete truth -- who killed my daughter Ishrat Jehan, who masterminded her murder, who stood to gain from the cold blooded killing of a young Muslim girl.”
"I have a right to complete justice, and for that it is necessary that the entire conspiracy is unearthed and all those responsible for eliminating my innocent daughter are indicted, charged, prosecuted and punished," Kauser said.
During the last hearing, the court had also come down heavily on the state government for trying to put on record a CD (of alleged conservations between those killed in the encounter and their Pakistani handlers) and told them to submit the evidence before CBI.
On behalf of Gujarat government, Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta, while requesting the court to take the CD on record, had claimed that it was a 'clinching' evidence showing the persons who were killed were terrorists and that the encounter was genuine.
CBI had in past one month arrested suspended IPS officer D G Vanzara, (prime accused in Sohrabuddin fake encounter case) who is now lodged in Sabarmati jail under judicial custody, following his five days custodial interrogation by the central agency.
CBI has also summoned and grilled Special Director of Intelligence Bureau Rajendra Kumar in the case with regard to the inputs generated about four 'terrorists' entering Gujarat allegedly to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.