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Ishrat encounter: SIT wants high court to appoint amicus curiae

The SIT lead by Karnail Singh, a 1984-batch IPS officer from Delhi, also comprises Mohan Jha and Satish Verma, IPS officers of Gujarat cadre. It has already started the probe.

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The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the 2004 police encounter of Mumbai girl Ishrat Jahan and three others has filed an application in the Gujarat high court seeking appointment of an amicus curie in the case.

SIT chief Karnail Singh filed the plea yesterday. In the application, Singh has said they needed a legal expert to help them during the investigation and also assist in various court proceedings.

Since the SIT was appointed by the high court, the team has requested it to provide them with an amicus curie (friend of the court).

The SIT lead by Singh, a 1984-batch IPS officer from Delhi, also comprises Mohan Jha and Satish Verma, IPS officers of Gujarat cadre. It has already started the probe.

Ishrat, 19, a college girl, was killed along with Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana and Jisan Johar Abdul Gani in an encounter with the Crime Branch near here on June 15, 2004.

As part of the inquiry, the SIT sought permission from the CBI court for questioning police officers DG Vanzara and NK Amin, both accused in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case and currently lodged in jail. The two were attached to Ahmedabad Crime Branch at the time of the incident.

The high court had earlier formed an SIT comprising IPS officers Pramod Kumar, Mohan Jha and J K Bhatt. But it was dissolved after the Supreme Court asked the high court to look into the petitions, which raised questions about veracity of the encounter, afresh.

At the time of the encounter, Gujarat police had claimed that Ishrat and the three others were LeT operatives on a mission to kill chief minister Narendra Modi.

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

However, a report by judicial magistrate SP Tamang had last year said the encounter was "fake" and carried out in cold blood by policemen for "selfish motives".

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