Suspended IPS officer G L Singhal and three other policemen,accused in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case,were granted bail by the special CBI court on Monday after the agency failed to file the chargesheet within the mandatory 90 days from arrest.
This is the first encounter case probed by the CBI in which the accused policemen got relief after the central probe agency failed to file the chargesheet within the stipulated time. Under section 167 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC),an accused is entitled to get default bail if the investigating agency fails to file chargesheet within 90 days of the arrest.
Additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) H S Khutwad granted bail to Singhal,suspended deputy superintendent of police Tarun Barot, retired DySP J G Parmar and police inspector Bharat Patel. DSP Barot and Parmar are also accused in Sadiq Jamal Mehtar encounter case.
The CBI is also probing the encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauserbi (2005),Tulsiram Prajapati (2006),which was recently clubbed with Sohrabuddin encounter by the order of the Supreme Court,and Sadiq Jamal Mehtar (2003).
While opposing the bail of Singhal and other accused,the CBI had cited two reasons for not filing the chargesheet the disappearance of additional director general of police P P Pandey,who has been absconding,and a technical problem that delayed the questioning of another accused,suspended IPS D G Vanzara,who has been arrested in Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.
Magistrate Khutwad told Singhals lawyer to deposit Rs 1 lakh as surety as condition for the bail. Singhal has been lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad for the last three months. The magistrate also ordered that Singhal could not leave Gujarat and had to appear before the CBI officials in Gandhinagar once a month.
Singhal was arrested by the CBI on February 21 while serving as the Superintendent of Police,state Crime Record Bureau,in Gandhinagar.
He was the Assistant Commissioner of Police who led the team of Ahmedabads Detection of Crime Branch on June 15 in 2004,the day 19-year-old girl Ishrat Jahan,her friend Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh,Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana,branded terrorists planning to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi,were gunned down in a stage-managed encounter. Singhal was the first arrest by the CBI after the agency was handed over to investigate encounter which was claimed as fake by Gujarat High Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Following SITs revelation CBI lodged an FIR against 20 police officials of murder,kidnapping and criminal conspiracy.