The BJP, which has repeatedly accused the CBI of working under the pressure of the UPA government, may find it ironical that the party-led Gujarat government had agreed for the agency’s probe into the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case in the high court in 2011.
A file photo of demonstrators holding a candlelight vigil for Ishrat Jahan.
Though Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders have consistently maintained that the CBI probe in this case has been biased, official records show that advocate general Kamal Trivedi had told the court about the state government’s willingness for a probe by any central agency.
The Gujarat High Court division bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice Abhilasha Kumari, had on December 1, 2011, ordered a CBI probe into the encounter of Jahan and three others after the state government gave its nod for the inquiry by either the National Investigation Agency or the CBI.
The court order had come on a plea filed by 14 police officers, eight of whom have now been named in the chargesheet filed by the CBI in an Ahmedabad court.
“The applicants by way of the present application are also seeking transfer of the further investigation of the FIR to the CBI or a newly-constituted SIT comprising senior cadre IPS officers not associated/posted with the state of Gujarat,” the high court said, citing their plea.
Though Jahan’s family had consistently maintained that their daughter was killed in a fake encounter in June 2004, their version got a boost when the Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate in 2009 held the encounter to be fake.
Following this, Jahan’s family moved the high court, which asked the Supreme Court appointed special investigation team headed by former CBI chief RK Raghavan, which was already probing 10 riots cases, to probe this encounter also in 2010. Raghavan, however, expressed his inability to take up the probe and when the high court’s attempts to set up a new SIT ran into trouble, it finally handed over the probe to CBI in December 2011.