In a major jolt to the Narendra Modi government, Gujarat cadre IPS officer Satish Varma, one of three members of the Special Investigative Team (SIT) probing the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, on Thursday filed an affidavit in the Gujarat high court stating that the killing was staged and recommended registering of a fresh FIR.
Varma, joint commissioner of police (traffic) in Ahmedabad, has held that the Mumbai college student and three others killed in the encounter were already in the custody of the Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch, which carried out the encounter in June 2004.
The state government has maintained that Jahan and her associates were Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives who were planning to assassinate chief minister Modi but were killed in an encounter.
Varma also said in his affidavit that SIT chairman Karnail Singh (Delhi Police) and the third member, Mohan Jha (Gujarat Police), were not allowing the probe to be carried out in an unbiased manner.
Varma has given a detailed account of the sequence of events on how differences cropped up between the three members on the approaches to be taken to conduct the probe.