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Ishrat encounter: HC pulls up CBI over probe

Source: PTI
December 28, 2012 20:09 IST
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The Gujarat high court on Friday took a strong view of the slow pace of the Central Bureau of Investigation's probe in Ishrat Jehan fake encounter case of 2004.

"After going through the status report submitted before us, prima facie it looks like nothing substantial has been done by the CBI," division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari said.

Court had asked the CBI to state what progress it had made in the investigation, assigned to it last December, when the CBI approached the court for a direction to the state government to extend the services of IPS officer Satish Verma for six more months.

The CBI submitted the status report on Thursday. The judges, clearly not impressed, said, "What has been shown in your report is only those steps which were already carried out by Special Investigation Team. There is no substantial progress in the investigation.

"It's been one year since this court has assigned the probe and still no substantial progress has been made. Don't think that you can carry on the investigation in this manner because no time-frame has been given to you," said Justice Patel.

Terming the report as "unsatisfactory", the bench asked the agency to file another report by January 10, giving a chronology of probe. "We need to know date-wise what has been done by you," judges said.

The case relates to encounter of 19-year-old Mumbai-based girl Ishrat Jehan, Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana by Ahmedabad crime branch officers on June 15, 2004.

The Gujarat police claimed that Ishrat and others were Laskar-e-Tayiba operatives, and had plans to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi. But the Special Investigation Team, set up by the HC, concluded that the encounter was fake.

The court on Friday said that after it handed over the probe to the CBI from SIT, "the agency should have done it with all the seriousness. You are duty-bound to make sure that investigation gets completed in reasonable time".

Meanwhile, advocate Vrinda Grover, who represents Ishrat's mother Shamima Kausar, submitted an application seeking that the HC should monitor the probe. It would be heard on January 11, the next date of hearing.

The judges also slammed the CBI for seeking further services of Verma, who was originally a part of SIT. "Is it that things can't move if Verma is not there? The CBI cannot do anything on its own," the bench asked.

Gujarat Government Pleader Prakash Jani said that Verma should be sent back to the state service "so that his services can be utilised in a better way."

The judges said, "After the new report if court is not satisfied then it may not be possible to continue his (Verma's) services (for CBI)".

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