January 17, 2015 3:20:54 am
The special CBI court in Ahmedabad on Friday reserved its order on the bail applications of former IPS officers P P Pandey and D G Vanzara who are accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter killing case. Judge K R Upadhyaya is likely to pass the order on January 28. Incidentally, the CBI lawyer opposing the bail application of jailed Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Pandey and Deputy Inspector General (retired) Vanzara feigned ignorance before the special CBI court about the status of the pending supplementary chargesheet against four officers of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), including former Special Director Rajinder Kumar.
During the hearing, the accused lawyers alleged “double standards” adopted by CBI that didn’t “touch” Kumar even after filing a chargesheet against him nearly a year back. During the arguments, the defence lawyers also claimed that Kumar was being protected by the Central government.
Senior counsel of CBI L D Tiwari fumbled before the special CBI judge K R Upadhyay who inquired about the status of the supplementary chargesheet. The judge asked, “Did the court ask you whether you have taken approval or the court took suo motu decision? Who raised the issue (of taking approval)? Upon this, Tiwari replied, “I think the chargesheet is against IB officers…I don’t know…,” he trailed off, adding that the issue was not required at this stage.
The court has raised these questions after Vanzara’s lawyer, V D Gajjar, said that the CBI didn’t arrest Rajinder Kumar and other IB officials even after filing the chargesheet. He told the court that the chargesheet against IB officials were pending since the CBI didn’t get permission under section 197 of CrPC that mandates government’s approval before prosecuting a government servant. However, the CBI didn’t wait to seek similar permission in case of Vanzara and P P Pandey. “Why this double standards,” Gajjar asked, adding that his client only served the nation against terrorists.
Appearing for Pandey, senior counsel Nirupam Nanavati argued that IB officials were not touched despite the CBI claiming that the encounter was a joint operation executed by Gujarat police and IB officials. He dragged IPS officer Satish Verma’s name, saying that the officer was biased against some Gujarat police officials as well as IB officials.
“The CBI in its FIR named 20 police officials as accused. They filed chargesheet against seven of them and showed the remaining accused as their witnesses. The investigating officer didn’t file a report on the status of the accused named in the FIR. It was deliberately done by Satish Verma,” Nanavati said, while mentioning IB’s affidavit filed in the Supreme Court last year that also alleged Verma as “biased against Rajinder Kumar in particular and IB in general”.
Nanavati also pointed out that the 13 policemen had also played a role in the alleged encounter, yet the CBI turned them into witnesses. He said that like his client Pandey, Rajinder Kumar also attended the alleged meeting for eliminating Ishrat and others, but the CBI was too “nervous” to “touch” him.” “Were you (CBI) afraid of Rajinder Kumar?” he wondered.
The CBI has filed two chargesheets against seven Gujarat police officials, including Vanzara, Pandey and four IB officers for killing 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan, her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai and two Pakistani nationals – Zeeshan Johar and Amjadali Rana – in 2004 in Ahmedabad.
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