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Court discharges former Gujarat in-charge DGP in Ishrat Jahan encounter case

Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year-old college girl, her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Rana were killed by Ahmedabad crime branch officials on the outskirts of the city on June 15, 2004.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2018 00:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Ishrat Jahan case,PP Pandey,Former Gujarat DGP
Former Gujarat in-charge DGP PP Pandey was the head of the Ahmedabad crime branch at the time when the killings took place.(PTI File Photo)

A special CBI court on Wednesday discharged former Gujarat in-charge director general of police, PP Pandey, in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others in which he was an accused.

Judge JK Pandya upheld Pandey’s discharge application, accepting his contention that two witnesses gave contradictory statements and 100 others had not named him.

In its charge sheet, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named Pandey, six more police officers, and four Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials as accused in the case related to the alleged extrajudicial killing.

Ishrat, a 19-year-old college girl from Mumbra near Mumbai, her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Rana were killed by Ahmedabad crime branch officials on the outskirts of the city on June 15, 2004. Pandey was the head of the city crime branch then.

Gujarat police claimed the four were Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists and out to kill then chief minister Narendra Modi (now Prime Minister).

The CBI had named Pandey in the charge sheet without obtaining the mandatory sanction from the Centre, Pandey’s lawyer told the court.

Pandey’s elevation in 2016 as the in-charge DGP — even when the case was pending against him — was also presented in the court as one of the grounds in his favour.

Following his discharge, Pandey told mediapersons, “I have faith in judiciary. It took a long time, but it’s been done.”

Pandey resigned in April last year after his appointment as the in-charge DGP was challenged in the Supreme Court. He retired last year.

The CBI had opposed his discharge plea, saying it had enough evidence to prove he was part of the conspiracy to carry out the alleged fake encounter.

The court made Ishrat’s mother, Shamima Kauser, and Javed Sheikh’s father, Gopinath Pillai, respondents in the matter on their request.

Both had opposed Pandey’s application, saying if he was discharged, it would obstruct the investigation.

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 18:12 IST