Gujarat DGP PP Pandey, accused in the Ishrat Jehan alleged fake encounter case, will step down from his post with the Supreme Court directing the state on Monday to revoke the notification that gave him a post-retirement extension.
Former top cop from Maharashtra Julio F Ribero had challenged the extension granted to Pandey.
He said the senior officer was still facing the murder charges and was in a position to influence the witnesses in the case, most of them being police officials.
A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar gave the direction after being told that Pandey had expressed his willingness to relinquish the post forthwith.
State counsel, additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta had urged the court to let Pandey be on the post till April 30, when his term ends. The plea was shot down by the court.
“But, his tenure has already ended. He retired long back,” the bench said.
It noted since Pandey offered his resignation, Gujarat must issue a notification immediately. It disposed of Ribero’s petition as infructuous.
In his letter dated April 1, addressed to state chief secretary, Pandey said the issue regarding his extension was “unnecessarily raised in the SC by certain disgruntled elements, apparently with an ulterior motive to bring disrepute to the state.”
Expressing his willingness to step down, Pandey said he took this decision to avoid causing any embarrassment to the Gujarat government.
State handed over the letter to the bench as part of its affidavit in which it justified the extension order in favour of Pandey.
It said Pandey, then working as director, anti-corruption bureau, was given additional charge of DGP and IG, Gujarat after his predecessor PC Thakur went on deputation to the Central government.
Pandey was to superannuate on January 30, 2017, but was given an extension in the wake of the revival of the Patidar reservation agitation.
Being a border state, the state police had started a technology-based project for ensuring adequate surveillance and security of its citizens. Also, a recruitment drive of 17,000 police personnel was midway and keeping such contingencies in mind Pandey was given six months extension.
Ribero’s counsel, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said Pandey could not have got extension because he was an accused in a murder case. He said the officer had applied for discharge in the matter and the CBI on his plea had contended before the local trial court that there was enough evidence against him to frame charges.
Pandey was heading the state crime branch when Ishrat, a 19-year-old girl based in Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter with police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
Gujarat police alleged they had terror links and plotted to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi.
An SIT constituted by the high court to investigate the case had concluded that it was a fake encounter, following which the court transferred the case to the CBI.
After being released on bail, Pandey was taken back into service in February 2015 and appointed the director of the state anti-corruption bureau.