The Supreme Court on Friday directed senior Gujarat Indian Police Service officer PP Pandey, an absconder in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, to appear before a trial court in Ahmedabad on July 29 and restrained the Central Bureau of Investigation from arresting him till then.
A bench heased by Justice B S Chauhan, however, made it clear that the protection from arrest to Additional Director Genreal P Pandey, a 1982-batch IPS officer, will come to an end if he fails to appear before the special CBI court on Monday.
The court passed the order after senior advocate Jaspal Singh, appearing for Pandey, assured that the police officer will appear before the concerned court and he should be protected till then.
Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising, appearing for the agency, vehemently opposed court's order for giving any protection to Pandey. "He has gone underground and there is no need to give him any protection. He is an accused in the case," she said.
The court, however, granted him interim protection and said that due procedure of law should be followed after he appears before the trial court.
"Pandey will appear before the concerned court on Monday and the law will take its course," the bench, also comprising justice S A Bobde, said while making it clear that if the IPS officer fails to appear before the trial court on Monday then he will not get any relief.
However, the bench said on appearing before the trial court, Pandey would be at liberty to move application for bail, which would have to be dealt strictly in accordance with law.
The Gujarat high court had on July 1 dismissed Pandey's plea seeking quashing of first information report against him in the fake encounter case. The court, while rejecting Pandey's plea, also declared him an absconder in the 2004 fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others.
Pandey, as the joint commissioner of police, Ahmedabad, was heading the Crime Branch when Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter allegedly with the Gujarat police on the city outskirts on June 15, 2004.