More than a year after it was asked to investigate Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case by the Gujarat high court on December 1, 2011, the CBI, on Thursday, arrested Gujarat-cadre IPS officer GL Singhal in the case.
Singhal who had led the crime branch team which killed the 19-year-old Mumbai girl in an encounter in Noblenager area of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004, is the first accused to be arrested in the case. CBI sources said that Singhal was not cooperating in the probe which forced the agency to arrest him for further interrogation.
Interestingly, arrest came a day after reports of recommendation for a preliminary enquiry into the allegations of graft against three officers of CBI, involved in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, was published by some newspapers. It had been alleged that IPS officers, Amitabh Thakur, P Kandaswamy and one ‘unidentified’ officer posted in Delhi will be probed by the agency on the allegations of receiving graft in the case.
Both Sohrabuddin and Ishrat Jahan fake encounter cases are being supervised by one DIG, Sandeep Tamgadge, and, if sources are to be believed, the agency was feeling the pressure in both cases since no headway had been made for sometime. Sources say that pressure to show some result led to Singhal’s arrest.
On Thursday, Singhal was picked up from his office of State Crime Record Bureau (SCRB), Gandhinagar at around 1:30 pm and was taken to the Ishrat SIT office in Sector-16 in Gandhinagar. Sources said that a CBI team reached Singhal’s office arrested him. Sources say three other people, including his security man, were also picked up by the agency.
Till late Thursday evening, Singhal had not been presented before a court. It is believed that Singhal was taken to his house and search was carried out at his home by the CBI sleuths for hours.
While Singhal is the first accused to be arrested in the case, other IPS officers named in the FIR include retired IPS officer KR Kaushik (1972-batch), PP Pandey (1980) and DG Vanzara (1987).
Other cops who are also facing the heat are DySPs – JG Parmar, VD Vanar (now retired), DH Goswami, RI Patel, Tarun Barot and NK Amin. Barot is already behind bars in Sadik Jamal fake encounter case while Amin is languishing in a Mumbai jail in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.
Later in the evening, referring to the news report which claimed that DIG P Kandaswamy and SP Amitabh Thakur had allegedly taken Rs3 crore to shield a banker, a suspect in the Sohrabuddin case, CBI said the allegations against the officers were enquired into but could not be substantiated.
"Both the officers have completed their term with the agency and repatriated to their respective home cadre," a CBI spokesperson said.
Agency's special unit had submitted its report in 2011 seeking further probe against one of the officers but the recommendations were not accepted as allegations could not be substantiated during detailed verification. (With agencies)