The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi’s close aide and Gujarat’s former home minister Amit Shah in the alleged 2004 fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others, citing insufficient evidence.
Asking for dismissal of an application against arraigning Shah as an accused in the case, the top investigating agency, in its reply filed before a special CBI court, also gave clean chit to former director general of police K R Kaushik.
The three-page reply filed by the CBI followed an application moved by Gopinath Pillai, whose son Pranesh alias Javed Sheikh, was among the four killed in the alleged fake encounter.
Pillai had sought to arraign Shah and Kaushik under the code of criminal procedure (CrPC) 319.
The CBI, however, has not only denied having sufficient evidence against Shah, but also urged the court to dismiss the application, hinting that there will not be any further probe in the case.
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“It is submitted that Amit Shah, then home minister in the government of Gujarat, was not named in the FIR. CBI has not named him in the chargesheet as an accused,” CBI’s inspector Vishwas Kumar Meena said in the reply.
CBI has also mentioned accused IPS officer D G Vanzara’s resignation letter dated September 1, 2013, which could not be termed as evidence. Vanzara’s letter was seen as evidence solely on the ground that he mentioned that the encounter was part of the state government’s “zero tolerance” towards terrorism.
“The resignation letter contains general allegations and does not provide any concrete information about the role of Amit Shah in this offence. After receiving the letter, CBI examined Vanzara in jail. However, Vanzara has neither disclosed any further details during his examination nor in writing. There is no sufficient evidence against Shah. Hence, CBI has not chargesheeted him,” CBI stated in its reply.
“In view of the above facts and circumstances, it is submitted that the application is liable to be dismissed,” CBI requested the court.
The probe agency has filed two chargesheets against 11 accused in the case. The second or supplementary chargesheet has been pending before a CBI special court since February 6. CBI has not yet requested the court to proceed for committal of the case.
Pillai had sought arraignment of Shah on the ground that the latter’s phone call detail records (CDR) during the encounter as well as his name appeared in the statements of some witnesses. It was claimed that Shah knew about the encounter operation.
The CBI chargesheet annexed statements by police officers, which referred to a person as “kaali daadhi” who knew about the encounter operation. This term was suspected to be a code for Shah.
Giving clean chit to Kaushik, CBI stated, “During further investigation and evidence collected so far, it appears that K R Kaushik was not involved in the conspiracy for killing the deceased persons. Hence, CBI has not chargesheeted him as he is cited as prosecution witness No. 183 in the supplementary chargesheet.”
Kaushik had been named in the FIR lodged by CBI before it started the probe. He was Ahmedabad police commissioner when Ishrat, Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjadali Rana were killed by a team of Gujarat police.
Others chargesheeted by CBI in the case include suspended ADGP P P Pandey, D G Vanzara, DSP G L Singhal, Tarun Barot. Four IB officials, including retired special director Rajinder Kumar, were also chargesheeted by the agency in the case.