Gujarat cops killed Ishrat Jahan in cold blood: SIT

Ishrat Jahan's family, Courtesy

{jathumbnailoff}The shooting was staged and according to forensic, medical and material evidence, the victims were killed before the “encounter date” of June 15, 2004, said the report, which was submitted on November 18.

The three member SIT was headed by Bihar cadre IPS Rajiv Ranjan Verma.

(c) Hindustan TimesA high court bench – which did not make the report public – initially ordered that a fresh FIR be filed, charging the policemen involved with murder. However, later, it decided that a final order regarding the FIR will be given on Wednesday.

Police have maintained that Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were members of the

Lashkar-e-Taiba, on a mission to kill chief minister Narendra Modi.

Over 20 policemen, including senior IPS officers, are involved in the case.

The probe will now pass on to a central agency. The court on Monday sought suggestions from the petitioners and the government on whether to entrust the task to the CBI or the National Investigation Agency.

“The probe agency needs to find out who played the key role… what was the motive, what was the actual time of death and the circumstances in which they were killed,” it said.

The development is a blow to the Modi government, facing a series of fake encounter charges against its police force.

But families of the victims hailed the report as a “victory of truth”.

Said Ishrat’s uncle Rauf Lala: “She was innocent, it is our victory.”

The Gujarat high court on October 7 asked the SIT, probing the encounter, to submit its final report by November 18.

That was the second time that the court had directed the SIT to submit its final report. During the hearing on September 10, the SIT was asked to give its final report by October 7. However, the team had submitted an interim report saying investigation into the case was not yet over.

During the October 7 proceedings, Verma had said that they wanted to conduct psycho-analysis test on some of the witnesses, who have turned hostile and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) has given them time to conduct such a test between October 19 and 21.

Verma also told the court that they had some queries regarding the CFSL report on reconstruction of the encounter.

Ishrat, Pillai, Rana and Johar were allegedly killed by Ahmedabad Crime Branch in an encounter on June 15, 2004.

A team of Ahmedabad crime branch on July 15, 2004 had intercepted an Indica car and later on killed four persons in encounter.

The probe in the case was supervised directly by the high court which constituted the SIT last year to investigate the genuineness of the gunfight after petitions were filed by Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kausar and Gopinath Pillai, father of Pranesh, raising questions about the police version of the incident.

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