Justifying its decision to reinstate senior Gujarat Police officer G L Singhal, 48, who was suspended when he was arrested in February 2013 for his alleged role in the killing of Ishrat Jahan, the state government said the officer is out on bail and, therefore, cannot be kept permanently under suspension.
June 15 will mark 10 years since 19-year-old Khalsa college girl Ishrat Jahan, her associate Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Shaikh, and Pakistani nationals Jishan Johar and Amjad Ali Akbar Ali Rana, were killed in a fake police encounter on Ahmedabad’s outskirts.The four were branded Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) fidayeen assigned to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi.
A close scrutiny of the CBI’s charges against him shows that Singhal is accused of being complicit at every stage of the alleged plot to kill them — right from the abduction of the victims, their confinement, planning their murder, their execution and planting of weapons.
Singhal is also the police officer in “Snoopgate”, purportedly on tape speaking with Amit Shah, the then Gujarat MoS Home, on keeping tabs on a young woman. These tapes were believed to be part of the 267 voice recordings submitted by Singhal to the CBI as evidence.
In March 2013, Singhal sent a resignation letter to the government, saying he felt “the government had failed to protect him from victimisation”, which was invalidated since he was already deemed suspended.
Investigating Officer of the Ishrat case Parixita Gurjar, ACP, Mahila Police Station, Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, filed a final report against nine people before the Special Judge, POTA Cases, Ahmedabad, on June 8, 2006. The judge didn’t accept the IO’s report, and ordered further investigation.
The CBI FIR in the Ishrat case came after the Special Investigation Team set up by the Gujarat High Court concluded that the encounter — on June 15, 2004 — conducted by Gujarat Police was stage-managed. The CBI’s FIR on December 16, 2011, named Singhal, the then Assistant Commissioner Police, Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, as among the officials involved.
These are the key findings of the CBI investigation, as per the chargesheet filed on July 3, 2013, and court records accessed by The Indian Express, that directly refer to Singhal’s alleged role:
-Singhal helped in “managing the illegal custody” of the deceased Jishan Johar in end April 2004 in a house in Gota Housing near Vaishno Devi Crossing, Ahmedabad.
-Singhal’s colleagues N K Amin, Tarun Barot and I K Chauhan, helped by M K Sinha and Rajeev Wankhede of the Intelligence Bureau, abducted deceased Amjad Ali from Gota Crossing on the outskirts of Ahmedabad and “confined him in illegal custody” at Arham Farm House from May 25, 2004 to June 15, 2004 (the day of the encounter).
-Three days before the killing, Javed and Ishrat Jahan were abducted from Vasad toll booth, Anand, and taken continued…
The court also expressed its concern over rise in crimes in outer Delhi areas.