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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

The who and what of the Ishrat Jahan case

Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times   July 02, 2013
First Published: 22:10 IST(2/7/2013) | Last Updated: 17:08 IST(6/2/2014)

The CBI on Thursday filed the second chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, naming one former and three serving Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials, while leaving out Narendra Modi’s top aide Amit Shah.

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Former IB officer Rajendra Kumar has been named as the main accused, while three serving IB officials — P Mittal, MK Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede — too have been charged with murder and criminal conspiracy.

The CBI had in July last year filed the first chargesheet, alleging that Jahan and three others were killed in a fake encounter on June 15, 2004. The agency accused eight police officials, including three Indian Police Service officers, of murder, abduction, conspiracy and destruction of evidence, among other offences. Here are key facts about the encounter and the people involved in the case:

June 15, 2004: Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar killed in a police encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The police claim they were members of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba on a mission to kill Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.
 
People invovled

Ishrat Jahan: A college girl from Mumbra, Maharashtra, she belonged to a lower middle class family. Second of seven siblings, Ishrat became the breadwinner of the family after her father’s death in 2002.
 
Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh: A Mumbai-based petty criminal involved in counterfeit currency and smuggling, he was friends with Ishrat.

Amjad Ali Rana: Reportedly a Pakistani national but there's no documentary evidence to prove it. His identity remains a mystery.
 
Zeeshan Johar: Reportedly a Pakistani national but no one claimed his and Amjad Ali’s bodies after they were killed. Zeeshan is said to have been handed over to Gujarat police by IB officials before the encounter.
 
Before the encounter
 
On June 11, 2004, Ishrat left for Nashik with Javed. Later that day and the day after, she called her mother from Nashik.

It is not known how she came to be found in Gujarat on June 15 when she was supposed to be in Maharashtra.
 
A controversial case

Sept 2009: Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate SP Tamang calls the encounter fake.
 
Aug 2010: Gujarat HC asks Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan, to take up the case.
 
Sept 2010: The HC constitutes a new SIT after the Raghavan-headed SIT expresses its inability to undertake the probe.
 
Nov 2010: SC rejects Gujarat government’s plea challenging the HC order to form a new SIT.
 
Dec 2010: A three-member SIT begins investigation and starts recording statements of witnesses, police officials involved in the case.
 
Jan 2011: SIT member Satish Varma files an affidavit stating the encounter was fake.

He also accuses the other two members of not allowing the probe to be conducted in an unbiased manner
 
Dec 2011: Gujarat HC orders CBI to probe the case.
 
Feb 2013: CBI makes its first arrest, Gujarat IPS GL Singhal.
 
May 2013: CBI court issues an arrest warrant against Gujarat's ADG PP Pande while the CBI summons IB special director Rajinder Kumar for interrogation
 
June 2013:

• CBI arrests IPS officer DG Vanzara from jail.

• It also removes IPS Satish Verma from its probe team. Verma was a nominee of Ishrat’s mother in the SIT formed by the Gujarat HC.

• While the CBI says it has proof that Rajinder Kumar was involved in the fake encounter, the IB defends him.

• Gujarat HC dismissed petition of additional DG PP Pande, who wanted the CBI FIR quashed in the case. Pande was earlier declared absconder by a special CBI court.
 
July 2013:

• CBI is set to file preliminary charge sheet in the case on July 3rd. It is set to name Gujarat cops who executed the encounter.

• The ministry of home affairs (MHA) tells CBI it has not sanctioned the prosecution of the IB official in the case.

The CBI has reportedly agreed to let the official retire on July 31st before naming him in the case.

Feb 2014:

• The CBI files supplementary chargesheet in the fake encounter case
 

Findings of the SIT and the CBI

• The detailed probe first by the SIT and subsequently by the CBI did not find any link between the dead and the LeT.

• One AK 47 and ammunition reportedly recovered from the dead turned out to have been planted by the Ahmedabad police.

• The CBI investigation revealed that two persons killed with Ishrat and Javed were associated with secessionists groups in Kashmir.

• The CBI probe also revealed that three of the four persons were in prior custody of police before they were killed in a 'staged' encounter.

• Further, the probe revealed that the IB official’s role was not limited to generating false intelligence alert that facilitated the encounter.

The CBI had noted that the official was an integral part of the conspiracy and also supplied an AK 47 rifle that was planted on the deceased.


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