Challenging the Gujarat government’s refusal to grant prosecution sanction against retired police officers D G Vanzara and N K Amin in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, an application has been filed in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court, Ahmedabad.
The application has been filed on behalf of Jahan’s mother, Shamima Kausar.
The case refers to an alleged staged encounter of a 19-year-old Mumbra student, Ishrat Jahan, along with three others in 2004, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The four persons killed – two of whom were alleged to be Pakistani nationals – were accused of conspiring to kill then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, among other BJP leaders. The investigation by a Gujarat High Court-appointed special investigation team (SIT) had said that the encounter was fake. The case was then handed over to CBI.
The CBI had filed chargesheets against seven police officers including Vanzara and Amin, and four Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers in the encounter case. It had said that the encounter was a result of a “conspiracy between Gujarat police officials and IB”. Vanzara, who was deputy commissioner of police in the Ahmedabad Crime Branch in 2004, had led the encounter team.
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Earlier, Vanzara and Amin had sought discharge from the case on the ground of absence of criminal prosecution from the state government. In 2018, the CBI court had rejected their applications, and had asked the investigating agency to obtain the necessary permission required for the cops’ prosecution. Subsequently, the CBI had sought the prosecution sanction from the Gujarat government.
However, on March 19, 2019, the CBI told the court that the government has denied the sanction under Section 197 of the CrPC. The letter by the government claimed that it believes the encounter was carried out by the cops “in the line of discharge of their duty”.
Vrinda Grover, advocate and counsel to Ishrat’s mother, told Newsclick that we will have to wait until the further arguments are presented in the court, “However, the proximity of the accused to the present regime is a matter of fact,” she said.
The CBI, on the other hand, has said that there is no need for such a sanction from the government, according to a Times of India report, because “they were charged with murder and criminal conspiracy. A trial against them could be proceeded without such sanction”.
Also read: Ishrat Jahan Encounter: A Case of Cold- Blooded Murder