The Gujarat high court on Friday expressed concern at six witnesses retracting their earlier statements that contested the state police version of the death of Mumbra girl Ishrat Jahan.
The six witnesses, who had earlier opposed the police theory of Ishrat dying in an encounter with the security forces, have now changed their position saying their “statements were recorded under duress”.
Both the earlier statements and the later ones were made before the Gujarat high court-appointed special investigating team (SIT), which is probing the death of Ishrat and three of her associates in June 2004.
“It’s very serious matter,” remarked the bench comprising justice Jayant Patel and justice Abhilasha Kumari, while directing the state police to provide security to witnesses whose statements were recorded by the SIT.
The Gujarat police have maintained the position that Ishrat was on a mission to kill chief minister Narendra Modi.
The court also appointed JV Ramudu, an IPS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre, as the new head of the SIT. He will replace Satyapal Singh, who wanted to be relieved because of a “language barrier”, in the sense he could not follow Gujarati.
Singh is an IPS officer of the Maharashtra cadre. Ramudu will be the third head of the SIT, which also has Satish Verma and Mohan Jha, both officers of the Gujarat cadre.
Six witnesses, who had earlier opposed the police theory of Ishrat dying in an encounter, have now changed their position saying their "statements were recorded under duress".
Both the earlier statements and the later ones were made before the Gujarat high court-appointed special investigating team.