The Gujarat High Court on Friday constituted a three-member special investigation team (SIT) headed by an IPS officer from outside the state to investigate the alleged fake encounter death of Mumbai college girl Ishrat Jahan in June 2004.
Karnal Singh (of the Arunachal, Goa, and Mizoram cadre), now a Delhi police joint commissioner on deputation, will lead the SIT. The Union home ministry recommended him for the job.
Two IPS officers of the Gujarat cadre – Mohan Jha and Satish Varma – are part of the SIT.
This is the third major investigation that has been taken out of the hands of the Gujarat police. Another special investigation team, appointed by the Supreme Court, is investigating the Gujarat riots of 2002.
The Central Bureau of Investigation is looking at the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, in which former Gujarat junior home minister Amit Shah is implicated.
All the three happened during the stewardship of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In the case of the killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others, the state police took the position that they were on a mission to assassinate the chief minister.
However, in September last year, local magistrate S.P. Tamang had said in his report that the Ishrat encounter was fake. Tamang had recommended action against 22 police officials including the then commissioner of police of Ahmedabad, K.R. Kaushik (now retired).
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice Jayant Patel and Justice Abhilasha Kumari has directed the new SIT to submit its report within three months of the Gujarat government issuing the notification.