Ishrat case: SC rejects Gujarat plea
In a setback to the Narendra Modi-led government in Gujarat, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed its plea challenging the high court order to form a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the alleged “fake encounter” of teenager Ishrat Jahan and three others. Bhadra Sinha reports.delhi Updated: Nov 12, 2010 23:56 IST
In a setback to the Narendra Modi-led government in Gujarat, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed its plea challenging the high court order to form a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the alleged “fake encounter” of teenager Ishrat Jahan and three others.
The Gujarat police had shot down the four on June 15, 2004 near Ahmedabad and later claimed they were LeT operatives on a mission to kill Modi.
A bench headed by Justice B Sudershan Reddy did not find merit in the state’s arguments that the HC didn’t have the power to constitute another SIT. Counsel Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatagi, appearing for Gujarat, asked the court to permit the government constituted SIT to carry out the probe.
“How can the state come with such a plea? Court is not deprived of its power. In exceptional cases, it can do (constitute a team). In the facts of the case, we find no reason to interfere,” the bench said, reacting sharply.
The Gujarat HC had on September 24, 2010 constituted the SIT following an SC direction passed after Raghavan committee expressed its inability to probe Ishrat Jahan’s case. The SIT headed by former CBI director is investigating the post-Godhra riots cases.
The IPS officers in new SIT selected by the court are Karnail Singh, a 1984 batch Delhi Police IPS officer, Mohan Jha 1985 batch Gujarat cadre officer named by the state and Satish Verma of the 1986 batch. The team was asked to submit its report within three months.
The SC also rejected Gujarat’s plea to set aside the HC order that partially accepted the September 7, 2009 Tamang Committee report, holding the encounter was “fake” and sought prosecution of officers responsible for it.