Serious differences over the appointment of an amicus curiae (friend of the court) have cropped up between two members of the special investigation team (SIT) probing the controversial encounter death of Mumbai college student Ishrat Jahan and three others on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in 2004.
IPS officer Satish Varma of the Gujarat Police has approached the Gujarat high court, submitting that the seniormost member of the team, Karnail Singh of the Delhi Police, had not consulted other members of the SIT before moving the court seeking the appointment of an amicus curiae to assist the probe.
Varma has urged the court to hear him before passing any order on Singh’s petition. He said that only the court on its own could appoint an amicus curiae and no one could seek the appointment. He said if there were any legal issues, they could be discussed with lawyers of the Gujarat government.
"It appears that Singh and Varma have difference of opinion regarding conducting the probe assigned by the court," senior lawyer Mukul Sinha, who appeared for one of the petitioners Gopinath Pillai, father of Pranesh alias Javed Pillai, who was also killed in the encounter, said.
A division bench of the high court has scheduled the matter for hearing on January 28 and directed all the three IPS officers to be present in the court. No member of the SIT could be contacted for comment despite several attempts. The Delhi Police’s joint commissioner Karnail Singh and Satish Varma and Mohan Jha, joint police commissioners in Ahmedabad in charge of traffic and the crime branch, respectively, are members of the team probing the case.