Gujarat HC transfers Ishrat case to SC-appointed SIT

The SIT headed by former CBI director R K Raghvan will now further investigate the encounter case of 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan and three others.

A division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari observed that there is no material on record to conclude that the encounter was with malafide intentions and, therefore, the plea for a CBI inquiry by the mother of the girl was not granted.

However, the probe done by the previous police officers was found to be not satisfactory hence the genuineness of the encounter deserves further investigation, the court said.

To instill confidence and credibility in the investigations, the case has been transfered to the SIT, the court further said.

The court has directed the state government to make necessary orders within two weeks to transfer the case to SIT.

The court has also told the SIT to submit its report within three months after it begins investigations.

Mumbai-based Ishrat was killed in an encounter along with Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana and Jisan Johar Abdul Gani by crime branch officials near Ahmedabad on June 15,2004.

The Gujarat High Court has also said that Judicial Magistrate S P Tamang's report has a recommendatory value.

Tamang had on September 7, 2009, held that the encounter as "fake" and that it was executed in cold blood by police officials for their personal benefits.

Shamina Kausar, Ishrat's mother, had approached the court asking for the CBI inquiry in the case.

Gopinath Pillai, father of one Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, killed in the encounter along with Ishrat had also sought a CBI inquiry into the killing of his son.

The Gujarat police at the time of encounter claimed that Ishrat Jahan and three others were LeT operatives on a mission to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

According to police, the encounter was carried out based on specific inputs from the Central Intelligence that Lashkar-e-Toiba was planning to carry out attacks on various parts of India including Gujarat.

The Centre, in an affidavit filed in the apex court with regard to Ishrat and three others, had stated that Javed was in regular touch with LeT operatives particularly to carry out terrorist action in Gujarat.

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