One IPS officer who stands out in the whole story of the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter is Girish Laxman Singhal,the now accused IPS officer who resigned from the IPS after he was arrested in this case.
Singhal,who had challenged in the Supreme Court the magisterial probe that held the encounter to be fake for the first time in 2009,has completely turned around since to provide evidence on how ministers in the current government allegedly tried to derail the probe and how the police was used for extra legal purpose in miscarriage of justice.
Once considered a favourite of the establishment,Singhal was promoted to the IPS in 2001 and posted as an assistant commissioner of police (ACP) in the Detection of Crime Branch,Ahmedabad,where he was an active member of suspended DIG DG Vanzaras team that shot dead Ishrat Jahan,Javed Sheikh,Amjadali Rana and Zeeshan Johar on June 15,2004.
Two pen drives that Singhal gave to the CBI contained the recorded conversation purportedly between him and the then minister of state for home Amit Shah in September 2009 (a few weeks after Tamang report was submitted on September 7,2009),and a conversation recorded in November 2011 purportedly discussing ways to obstruct investigation of Ishrat case.
This meeting reportedly had Singhal,his advocate Rohit Verma,principal secretary in CMO G C Murmu,advocate general Kamal Trivedi,IGP Arun Kumar Sharma,Praful Patel,then minister of state for home,Pradeepsinh Jadeja,the minister of state for law,Bhupendra Chudasama,former minister,and Tarun Barot,another police officer accused in this case.
Now,the chargesheet filed by CBI against Singhal and six others annexes statements by some police officers who describe him as an officer who took a stand and disagreed with Vanzara on some counts when planning the killing of Ishrat and the three others.
Police inspector Bharat A Patel,in his statement to CBI recorded on April 2013 at Sabarmati Central Jail,has stated,…for intelligence and counter-terrorist work,Singhal used to consider me his confidant and used to like my skills in that area of work.
Patel has also described how Singhals patient and tactful interrogation got Amjadali Rana,one of the four killed,talking. He has stated that the motive of Amjadali was not to assassinate the chief minister.
According to Patels testimony,Singhal thought that the idea of picking up the girl (Ishrat) was bad since the girl was not needed for operational purposes and it could also lead to complications.
Another DySP (retired) D H Goswamis confession before CBI says Singhal had disagreed on reading the draft complaint and I vaguely remember it had something to do with the motive in the draft and about the girl Ishrat. The officer was referring to the pre-drafted FIR to be lodged following the encounter.
Goswami,who had served as reader to Singhal,says the latter had requested police inspector K M Waghela (considered close to Vanzara) to meet Vanzara and convince him to agree to what Singhal wanted,which was about changing the motive of the encounter as drafted in the FIR.
Before the ghost of Ishrat encounter started haunting the state,Singhal was lauded for his key role in several cases,including of Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts in July 2008 in which he nabbed most of the alleged terrorists.
After his arrest earlier this year,Singhal had sent in his resignation letter,which the state government sent for an analysis claiming it did not seem written in his own handwriting.
Singhals personal life too has seen ups and downs. His wife was booked in a case of trespassing and illegal construction by society members when they lived at Ghatlodia in 2010.
They moved to Satellite area where,in July 2012, his 16-year old son hanged himself. After his arrest earlier this year,Singhal,who is out on bail,moved to another