A CBI court Friday proclaimed Additional Director General of Police P P Pandey as an absconder for evading arrest warrants for more than a month in connection with Ishrat Jahan alleged encounter case. While pronouncing the order Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) H S Khutwad gave an ultimatum to Pandey to be present before the court by July 31 in order to avoid further legal actions.
Pandey is one of the top policemen accused in the 2004 encounter. He was heading the Detection of Crime Branch as Joint Commissioner of Police when 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan,her friend Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai,Amjadali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were gunned down on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in the alleged stage-managed encounter.
Before disappearing,the 1980-batch IPS officer Pandey was holding the charge of CID (crime). CBI had issued two summons on April 22 and April 24,but Pandey evaded them. Since then,he has been running away from the law. Officially,he is on sick leave. This led CBI to file a petition against Pandey for issuing arrest warrant.
The ACJMs court refused to entertain CBIs plea. It was revised by CBI session court which cleared the way for Pandeys arrest warrant last month. However,CBI failed to trace Pandey and execute the arrest warrant.
Earlier this month,CBI officials moved an application before the ACJM,demanding to declare Pandey a proclaimed absconder under Section 82 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The court had sought more reports from CBI about details of efforts the agency took to arrest Pandey before declaring him a proclaimed offender.
In the meanwhile,Pandey had also moved an application before the court stating that he was being victimised in the case. Following this,the court had sought more information regarding Pandeys disappearing act.
Sources said that CBI had informed the court that the agency searched for Pandey at his office,his residence in Shahibaug (Ahmedabad) and Uttar Pradesh where Pandey originally belongs to. However,CBI reportedly couldnt get a whiff of Pandey. According to senior lawyer Mukul Sinha,if Pandey doesnt surrender at this stage the next legal step would be the attachment of properties belonging to Pandey under section 83 of CrPC.
In this case,CBI has so far arrested six accused policemen,including IPS officer G L Singhal and DSP Tarun Barot,among others. Out of them,four policemen,including these two,got default bail since CBI didnt file the chargesheet. Following Gujarat High Courts direction,the CBI is set to file the chargesheet by July 4.