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The statements given before a magistrate by nine Gujarat policemen, who had played minor roles in the killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others in an alleged fake encounter, may spell trouble for seven senior officers who have been chargesheeted in the 2004 case.
These policemen, some of them junior officers, have recorded their statements before a judicial magistrate under Section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Statements under this section are admissible in court as evidence.
These statements are part of the chargesheet filed by CBI before a special court in Ahmedabad on July 3 in which the agency termed the encounter as "fake".
Retired DySP D H Goswami, DySP Ramesh Patel, CID Inspector Kalu Desai, Inspector Bharatsingh Chavda, Special Operations Group (SOG) Inspector Chetan Goswami, Head Constables Mohan Menat, Moti Desai, retired Assistant Sub- Inspector Nijamuddin Saiyed and Inspector Ibrahim Chauhan have stated before the magistrate that they carried out the orders given to them by senior police officers.
These policemen helped senior IPS officers Girish Singhal, NK Amin, DG Vanzara and PP Pandey, all named as accused in the charge sheet, during the encounter.
Besides Ishrat and her friend Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, two Pakistani nationals Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana, were killed in the incident by Ahmedabad Crime Branch near here on June 15, 2004.
Chavda and Desai were deployed at Arhan Farm, where Rana was kept captive, according to their statements. They have given statements about their meetings and conversations with Vanzara, Amin and others prior to the encounter.
All nine policemen had earlier given their statements to the Crime Branch and the Gujarat high court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) and later to CBI.
Six of them told the magistrate that they were under pressure when they gave their earlier statements but what they have told CBI was nothing but truth about the circumstances leading to the "fake" shootout.
Gujarat Police had then claimed the four were on a mission to assassinate chief minister Narendra Modi.