The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday gave a clean chit to Amit Shah, a close aide of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.
The agency told a special CBI court here that it did not find "sufficient evidence to arraign Amit Shah and retired IPS officer KR Kaushik as accused" in the case.
Shah was junior home minister of Gujarat while Kaushik was Ahmedabad police commissioner in 2004 at the time of the encounter, which later turned out to be fake.
On June 15, 2004, Ishrat Jahan Raza, a 19-year-old girl from Mumbai, was killed along with three men – Pranesh Pillai (alias Javed Gulam Sheikh), Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar – by officers of the Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch.
The police claimed the four were terrorists associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba on a mission to kill Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
The CBI's clean chit came after an application was filed in the special CBI court by lawyer Mukul Sinha, who is fighting for justice for the family of Pranesh Pillai, seeking to charge Shah and Kaushik as accused. The court then issued notices to the CBI as well as Shah and Kaushik in March 2014.
In its two earlier chargesheets filed in the case, the CBI included seven policemen of Gujarat, including IPS officer PP Pandey and DG Vanjara, and four Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials, including top-ranking official Rajinder Kumar, for illegal custody, conspiracy and murder.
The CBI probe had found that the four killed in the fake encounter were in prior custody of police and IB officials, who conspired to kill them, passing them off as terrorists.