In a relief for Narendra Modi's close aide Amit Shah in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others, a local CBI court today dismissed a plea seeking arraignment of the former Gujarat Home Minister and ex-police commissioner of Ahmedabad K R Kaushik as accused in the case.
The plea was filed by Gopinath Pillai, father of Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh who was among four persons, including Ishrat, who were killed in alleged staged encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. The Special CBI Judge Geeta Gopi dismissed the plea, saying the statements in the CBI charge sheet cannot be considered sufficient to arraign Shah and Kaushik as accused and the plea cannot be granted at this stage.
It was rejected after the investigating agency filed an affidavit in reply on May 7 before the court giving a 'clean chit' to Amit Shah citing lack of evidence against him. Though the probe agency has filed a supplementary charge sheet, the court has not taken its cognisance as the CBI did not submit the Home Ministry's nod to prosecute officers named in it. The statements cannot be taken into account until they become part of court inquiry, the court said.
In the charge sheet, statements of certain witnesses and accused IPS officers allegedly indicated involvement of Shah and Kaushik in the case. The CBI had also said that there was no evidence against Kaushik to show his involvement in the encounter and so he was made a witness in the case. The court also observed that the petition of another accused IPS officer, N K Amin, who has sought quashing of the charge sheet in the Ishrat encounter case, is difficult to adjudicate as his application is pending before the Supreme Court.
The CBI had named IPS officers D G Vanzara, P P Pandey, G L Singhal, besides other officers as accused in its first charge sheet, claiming that the encounter was a joint operation by Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau. In its supplementary charge sheet, the agency had named former IB Joint Director Rajendra Kumar, who was then posted at the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau in Gujarat, and three other officers as accused.
Ishrat (19), a college girl from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were gunned down allegedly in a fake encounter by Gujarat Police on the outskirts of city on June 15, 2004.
Police had claimed that the deceased were Lashkar-e- Toiba members who were on a mission to kill Narendra Modi.