The Gujarat high court on Tuesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to complete its probe into the police encounter deaths of college student Ishrat Jahan and three others by July 4 and file a final report.
Ishrat's relatives collect her body from a hospital in Ahmedabad on June 18, 2004. File photo
The court also told the probe agency to file the chargesheet at the earliest so that no more accused can get out on default bail, while a top official of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) was interrogated for his role in the alleged fake encounter killing.
The court asked the CBI to focus on the conspiracy involving the custody of the deceased, the encounter and the persons involved in the alleged conspiracy and the fake gunfight in which the four persons were killed.
The court allowed CBI's plea seeking Gujarat cadre IPS officer Satish Verma be dropped from the probe team from June 23. Verma has been assisting the CBI in the investigation on high court directions.
In fact, Verma's aggressive style of investigation had irked the Intelligence Bureau and some accused policemen, who had accused him of bias.
Meanwhile, the CBI grilled intelligence bureau (IB) special director Rajinder Kumar at an unknown location in Gandhinagar in connection with his role in the alleged fake encounter of Jahan and three others by Ahmedabad police in 2005.
This is for the first time in the history of post Independent India, a top official of the IB is being probed for his role in the alleged staged killings of four persons, who were described as Lashkar-e-Taiba militants tasked with killing Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi post 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state.
The CBI sources have ruled out his arrest in the case at this point of time. This is the second time Kumar was grilled by the probe agency in the case. Kumar is a special director of the country's premier internal intelligence agency. A 1979 batch IPS officer of Manipur and Tripura cadre, Kumar was heading the IB unit in Gujarat from 2001 to 2005.
He is accused of providing false intelligence alert to facilitate the staged gunfight, providing weapons and also procuring prior custody of two of the four persons.
The CBI's summon to Kumar triggered a bitter face off between the CBI and the IB, the latter accusing the former of targeting its official. Defending its top cop, the IB director had written a letter to the CBI director regarding the links of Ishrat and others with the Pakistan-based terror outfit.
The CBI director Ranjit Sinha had also stuck to the agency's position contending the agency had gathered "strong evidence against the officer who was part of the conspiracy" that led to the fake encounter killings of the four persons.
The matter had reached to the Prime Minister Office where a series of meetings between the directors of the IB, CBI, the home secretary and national security advisor were held to sort out the issue.
Last week, the high court had slammed the Narendra Modi government for trying to hinder the CBI probe in the case, saying "even if the persons were terrorists, nobody had license to liquidate them".