SIT report: Ishrat, three others were victims of fake encounter

AHMEDABAD — A Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the 2004 Ishrat Jahan police encounter on the outskirts of the city has concluded that the shootout in which a Mumbai college girl and three others were killed was fake.

By Mahesh Trivedi

Published: Tue 22 Nov 2011, 10:44 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:21 AM

The SIT in its November 18 report submitted to the Gujarat High Court has also said that the four alleged terrorists were killed prior to the date of the gun fight on June 15, 2004 and that the evidence collected by it suggested that the encounter was staged.

In a blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party government, the court hearing the matter on Monday told the SIT to lodge a fresh FIR and book the 20-odd cops, including many IPS officers, involved in the incident under IPC 302 for murder.

Ishrat (19), her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, and their two alleged Pakistani accomplices were gunned down in a police encounter after a team of Ahmedabad crime branch intercepted an Indica car and later on killed the four in an encounter.

Subsequently, the police claimed that the quartet was associated with Pakistan-based Lashkar-i-Taiba and the four were out on a mission to target Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The probe in the case was supervised directly by the high court which constituted the SIT last year to investigate the genuineness of the gunfight after petitions were filed by Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kausar and Gopinath Pillai, father of Pranesh, raising questions about the police version of the incident.

The court will now decide whether the Central Bureau of Investigation or National Investigation Agency can probe the case after the second FIR is filed. It has sought suggestions from the petitioners and the state government.

The court said: “The probe agency would need to find out who played the key role in the encounter, what was the motive and what was the actual time of the death of the four people.”

The SIT team, which investigated the case, is headed by R R Verma, while the other two members of the team are IPS officers Mohan Jha and Satish Verma.

A judicial inquiry report by metropolitan magistrate S P Tamang submitted on September 7, 2009, in the encounter case had already said that the shootout was fake and executed in cold blood by the police officers for winning accolades from their bosses.

Those accused in the case include the then JCP (crime branch) P P Pande, suspended DIG DG Vanzara, then ACP GL Singhal and ACP NK Amin — all IPS officers. There were 21 policemen, including the IPS officers, involved in the encounter.

Vanzara and Amin are also accused in the Soharabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and murder of Sheikh’s wife Kausar Bi and are presently behind bars.

Social activists like Shabnam Hashmi and Mukul Sinha hailed the SIT findings and said that 20 more fake encounters had taken place in Gujarat during the past seven years in the Modi regime.

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