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For want of sanction, Ishrat trial stuck for 2 years in Ahmedabad court

Source: PTI
March 02, 2016 18:13 IST
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Notwithstanding the political slug fest over the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan, its trial is stuck for last two years in Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ahmedabad for want of sanction from the Centre to prosecute Intelligence Bureau officers who have been chargesheeted by the probe agency.

The CBI filed two charge-sheets in the encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others.

The first charge sheet filed in July 2013 was against seven police officers, including IPS officers P P Pandey, D G Vanzara and G L Singhal. In the charge sheet, the CBI had said that the encounter was fake and a joint operation between the Gujarat police and the Intelligence Bureau.

In the second charge sheet filed in February 2014, the CBI had charged Special Director of the IB, Rajendra Kumar, with murder (Indian penal Code section 302), criminal conspiracy (120 {B}), kidnapping in order to murder (364), wrongful confinement (346, 364 and 368) and under sections 3, 25 (A) and 29 of the Arms Act.

Three other IB officers who were part of Kumar's team -- P Mittal, M K Sinha and Rajiv Wankhed -- were also charged in the case.

Both the charge-sheets were filed in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate H S Kuthwad. However, the CBI had not obtained permission of the central law ministry to prosecute the four IB officers named in the second charge-sheet.

"As the CBI had not obtained permission of the Union government, the court had not taken cognisance of the charge sheet against the IB officers," said Vinod Gajjar, advocate for accused D G Vanzara and others.

"The court had taken cognisance of the first charge-sheet against seven police officers and case against them was committed for trial," he said.

"However, as permission was not obtained to prosecute officers named in the second charge sheet which is mandatory, the hearing in the case has not started so far," Gajjar said.

Ishrat, 19, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an alleged fake encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.

The Gujarat police had then claimed that the four, with links to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba, had come to the city to kill the then state Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Notably, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a plea seeking quashing of criminal prosecution, suspension and other actions taken against Gujarat cops in the 2004 alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan, in view of the recent testimony of jailed Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley.

While testifying recently before a Mumbai court in connection with the 26/11 terror attack, Headley had said that Ishrat was an operative of the LeT.

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