Ishrat case: Fate of Vanzara to be decided on April 29

Ishrat case: Fate of Vanzara to be decided on April 29

A special CBI court here on Monday concluded the hearing on applications moved by former police officers DG Vanzara and Narendra Amin seeking their prosecution in Ishrat Jahan encounter case be dropped for want of sanction from the state government. The court is likely to pronounce the order on April 29.

Earlier in the day, a lawyer for Shamima Kauser, mother of Ishrat Jahan, submitted a written objection against the pleas of these two accused cops. The objection comprises what her lawyer Vrinda Grover argued in the previous hearing. She had argued that Ishrat Jahan, her friend Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, and two alleged Pakistani nationals were first “abducted, confined and then murdered which have no nexus with the discharge of the official duty of the accused.”

It is to be noted that Vanzara and Amin moved the court after state government refused to grant permission to CBI to prosecute them under section 197 of code of criminal procedure (CrPC). This section states that the prosecution agencies have to take prior sanction from the government to prosecute a government servant. Despite taking a stand since the beginning that there is no need for sanction in this case, the CBI wrote to the Gujarat government and sought their opinion. The state government refused to grant the sanction. Based on this, Vanzara and Amin approached a court for dropping the case against them. They have also said that since ex-Director General of Police P P Pandey has already been discharged on the same ground, they should also be given parity.

Grover, however, argued that “The Order of the Government declining sanction is invalid, and hence non-est, as it is without merit, having been passed mechanically and without application of mind. It also amounts to an interference in the administration in the of justice and hence deserves to be rejected. The sanction Order is yet another attempt by the State Government to shield the accused and obstruct the answering Respondent’s right to justice.”

She argued that no sanction is required for prosecution as the accused conspired to commit the alleged offences which “fall outside the scope of their official duty and do not even have a remote connection with the official duties of a police officer.”

She also said that the court had rejected their discharge pleas while holding that there is a prima facie case against these accused. She also said that there is enough evidence to frame charges to start the trial.

On the other hand, Vanzara and Amin argued that in wake of denial of sanction by the Gujarat government, they should be exonerated from the case. The CBI has not opposed their pleas and has left it to the court to decide in accordance with the law.

The CBI had chargesheeted seven Gujarat police officers including Pandey, Vanzara, Amin, IPS officer G L Singhal among others and filed a supplementary chargesheet against four officers of Intelligence Bureau (IB). The CBI probe established that 19 years old Mumbai college girl Ishrat, her friend Javed and two Pakistani nationals were abducted, kept in illegal confinement and then murdered in cold blood. The accused policemen branded them as "Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives" who were out to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi, now the prime minister.