AHMEDABAD: In another setback to the Narendra Modi Government, Gujarat High Court today handed over to CBI further probe into the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter and directed the SIT to slap murder charges on the policemen.
Observing that the case should be considered as an "exceptional one which has national ramifications", a division bench of justices, Mr Justice Jayant Patel and Mr Justice Abhilasha Kumari asked the SIT Chief, Mr R R Verma to file the fresh FIR under section 302 IPC (murder) within two weeks and transfer the case to the central investigation agency.
Observing that the Gujarat Police does not instill confidence among the victims, the court spelt out 12 reasons why the case should not be given to it for further probe after it endorsed the finding by the court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).
The SIT had last month concluded that the encounter in which college girl Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed on June 15, 2004 in Ahmedabad. Was staged by the police.
A judicial inquiry report by the metropolitan magistrate, Mr S P Tamang report had alleged that 21 police officers, including the then crime branch chief, Mr JCP P P Pande, suspended DIG D G Vanzara, then ACP G L Singhal and ACP N K Amin were involved in the conspiracy regarding the fake encounter.
Vanzara and Amin are also accused in the fake encounter of Soharabuddin Sheikh and also in connection with the murder of his wife Kausar Bi, and are presently behind bars.
The High Court ordered CBI to also probe the claims made by the state Police after the encounter that the four persons were LeT terrorists on a mission to kill the Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi.
The court also did not favour handing over the case to the National Investigating Agency (NIA) and the SIT.
Indicating a trust deficit in Gujarat Police, the court said, "The agency to probe the case must instill confidence and should have credibility among the victims, therefore we find it fit not to assign the case to the state police".
Singh said, "Of course, many people had expressed the view that X should not have been put in jail or Y should not have been put in jail. I think if you go by a poll and ask different people what we should have done, you will never be able to handle any law and order (situation).
"We do not handle law and order that way. We never have handled law and order that way. You handle law and order according to the best of your judgement and what you think best at that point of time."
There has been criticism of the government handling of the agitation of Baba Ramdev against blackmoney in April and fast by Anna Hazare demanding a Jan Lokpal Bill in August.
Mr Hazare has announced he will relaunch his agitation from December 27 if a strong Lokpal bill is not passed in the ongoing Parliament session.