Ishrat case: Order on two ex-cops’ discharge pleas likely on Aug 7

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A special CBI court, hearing the discharge applications of former police officers D G Vanzara and N K Amin in Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case, is likely to pass its order on August 7. Special CBI court Judge J K Pandya said the order, which was listed for today, will be passed on Tuesday. The court had last month concluded hearing arguments of the two accused retired police officers, the CBI and Ishrats mother Shamima Kauser, who had challenged Vanzaras discharge plea. Former Gujarat DIG Vanzara has sought discharge on the ground of parity with former in-charge DGP of the state P P Pandey, who was discharged in the case in February this year for want of evidence against him. In his plea, Vanzara had also claimed that the charge sheet filed by the central agency was concocted and there was no prosecutable material against him. The former Gujarat ATS chief said statements of the witnesses were highly suspicious. Amin, who retired as the superintendent of police, sought his discharge on the ground that the encounter was genuine and that testimonies of witnesses produced by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were not reliable. Ishrats mother sought to oppose Vanzaras plea and told the court that her daughter was murdered following a conspiracy between high-ranking police officers and others holding powerful and influential positions. She said Vanzara played a direct and key role in the conspiracy behind the staged encounter. Jahan, a 19-year-old woman from Mumbra near Mumbai, and three others – Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar – were killed by the police in an encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. At that time, the police had claimed that the four had terror links and plotted to kill the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. A Special Investigation Team, set up by the Gujarat High Court, however, concluded that the encounter was fake. Following this, the court transferred the case, initially handled by the state police, to the CBI. In the first charge sheet filed in 2013, the CBI named seven police officials, including IPS officers Pandey, Vanzara and G L Singhal, as accused. All were booked for kidnapping, murder and conspiracy, among other charges. Vanzara was also named an accused in the alleged fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a suspected gangster, and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati. He was discharged by a court in Mumbai last year.