In a double blow to the Narendra Modi government, the Gujarat high court Thursday entrusted the CBI with the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter probe, citing "trust deficit" in the state police, and the Supreme Court slammed the state for not handing over phone call details of senior police officials in connection with the staged killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
Ahmedabad crime branch officials had in separate shootouts gunned down the 19-year-old Mumbai student — along with three companions — and Sheikh, claiming they were terrorists.
The high court also directed the special investigation team that carried out the preliminary probe in the Ishrat case to file a fresh FIR with the CBI, charging the policemen involved with murder.
The SIT had in its final report last month said the June 15, 2004 encounter was staged.
On why it chose the CBI, the court said, "The agency to probe the case must instill a sense of confidence and should have credibility among the victims."
Ishrat's mother Shamima Kauser welcomed the ruling and social activist Teesta Setalvad called it a "severe indictment of the Gujarat Police" while Gujarat government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas refused to comment.
In New Delhi, the Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to place before it on Wednesday CDs related to the Sohrabuddin case so they could be passed on to the CBI. It called the withholding of information a "very disappointing and serious matter".