The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the 1996 encounter of alleged gangster Jasu Gagan Shiyal,when IPS officer Satish Verma was the Porbandar district Superintendent of Police,has found ballistic evidence to prove that it was a staged killing. The report by Gandhinagars Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL),a copy of which is with The Indian Express,has revealed that Shiyal was shot dead from a close range,contrary to the police theory. The report states that Jasu was shot dead from a 4-inch range,not from 24 feet away as claimed by the Porbandar police back then.
The report has been prepared by a team of six forensic officials,including M S Rao,ex-chief forensic scientist at MHA,James Philipose,ex-director of forensic science laboratory in Kerala,M S Dahiya,deputy director at the directorate of forensic science (DFS) in Gandhinagar,S G Khandelwal,deputy director at DFS,H P Sanghvi,assistant director at DFS,and H J Trivedi,scientific officer at DFS.
Khandelwal finds mention in one of the statements annexed to the CBI chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case for suspicious investigation. He was assistant director at the FSL then and had allegedly dictated the visitation report of the crime scene where Ishrat and the three others were killed on June 15,2004,wherein some details were missed out.
The current forensic team had visited the Porbandar crime scene for the reconstruction of the incident in August and prepared the report last week. The report states,The entry wound of the gunshot injury sustained by Jasu had inverted,regular and blackened margins… The blackened margins of the injury mandate the shot having been fired at Jasu from a very close range of around 4 inches.
As per the report,none of the three rounds of purported firing by the police team at Jasu could generate the gunshot injury which he sustained. And,therefore,the said firing were not at all the source of the gunshot injury that led to Jasus death,it said. On December 2,1996,a police team had fired three rounds at Jasu Shiyal,one of which was fatal. The FSL report has ruled out any possibility of the three rounds of fire having hit Jasu.
The FSL team investigated five major issues: whether Jasu was hit by any of the three bullets,which bullet had the highest probability of hitting him,whether he was shot at some other location,whether he shot himself and which could be the most likely location.
The report has ruled out that Jasu was killed by any of the three bullets fired by the police team and concluded that he was shot at some other location.
The report spells trouble for Inspector General of Police Satish Verma,who not only proved the Ishrat encounter to be fake,but also assisted the CBI in its probe and collection of evidence in this case.
The Gujarat High Court had recently lifted stay on the investigation of three such death cases in different districts when Verma was the police chief and asked the state government to form SIT to investigate all the cases. Deputy commissioner of police (Crime) Himanshu Shukla heads the SIT investigating the Jasu encounter in Porbandar.
Sources said that so far the SIT had recorded more than 50 witnesses,with many of them testifying that Verma was present on the spot. The witnesses reportedly told the SIT that Verma was known to everyone in Porbandar when he was posted as Superintendent of Police and he was quite popular. Sources claimed that it was Verma who had personally prepared a detailed scheme to apprehend the dreaded criminal (Jasu) following an anonymous input.
The Porbandar police,which conducted the encounter,hid several facts of the incident,sources said. For example,police never collected Jasus hand wash (in case he opened fire at the police team in a bid to flee as claimed by the police). Besides,the FSL team was not called to the spot after the incident.
On December 2,1996 a police team,comprising more than 100 officials,had surrounded Jasu who was hiding at a house owned by one Premji Kothla in Kirti Mandir police station area. The Porbandar police had claimed that Jasu was shot while he was trying to flee in an exchange of fire.