A special CBI court in Ahmedabad, while presiding over the trial of the alleged extrajudicial killing of Ishrat Jahan, observed that the act of the accused police officers “can be said to have been done while discharging their official duties.”
The court made the observation on October 23 while rejecting the discharge pleas of four accused police officers — J G Parmar, Tarun Barot, G L Singhal and Anaju Chaudhary.
Parmar, who lodged the FIR on the encounter as then police inspector in the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), Ahmedabad that carried out the encounter, died on September 21 and the case against him now stands abated.
As per the DCB’s version of investigation, the Gujarat Police received inputs from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) on terrorists landing in Ahmedabad from Kashmir and Mumbai. Subsequently, police personnel and checkposts were stationed and allegedly “one of the terrorist from rear door of the car started indiscriminate firing from an AK 56 rifle towards the police personnel”, following which the police retaliated and four alleged terrorists were killed.
As per CBI’s investigation however, Ishrat and Javed were apprehended from Vasad toll booth in June 2004.
The court, in its order noted that “the story of Gujarat Police is that they received information from I.B. that four terrorists had entered into Gujarat… When the car did not stop, police fired on the tyre of the car… One of the terrorists came out of the car and started firing on the police. In retaliation, police also fired on the terrorists, resultantly, all of them had died. Therefore, act of the police officers can be said to have been done while discharging their official duties…”
The court also relied on the investigation carried out by the Gujarat High Court-appointed 2011 SIT headed by IPS officer RR Verma that found loopholes in the crime branch probe of 2004, to conclude that the Gujarat Police’s version of how the encounter unfolded made a better case than the CBI’s version.
The court order further said, “Looking at the bomb blasts in Ahmedabad in the past and looking to the seriousness and gravity of information received by them from I.B. with regard to the terrorists entering into Gujarat, they cannot ignore the information… Therefore, in order to prevent four persons, who died in the encounter, officers were required to do some preventive actions.”
The court adjourned the case for the framing of charges while directing CBI “to place on record prosecution sanction as required under section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure…,” from the Gujarat government.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines