The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and IPS officer Satish Verma have locked horns again in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case on the issue of second chargesheet filed against four Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers. Verma, who assisted the Ishrat probe as a lead investigator, has sought a copy of the chargesheet which has not been made public as yet.
The CBI on Monday opposed Verma’s plea filed before a special CBI court, seeking permission to inspect the second chargesheet and also the order of Central government which refused to grant sanction to prosecute IB officers. The CBI said that Verma had no locus standi to seek such documents. The special CBI judge will pronounce the order on March 28 on whether Verma should be allowed to get documents or not.
On March 19, Verma moved an application pleading, “for supplying certified copies of entire chargesheet papers that is the documents and the statements recorded by the investigating officers, specifically the second chargesheet papers and the order of the government of India regarding prosecution sanction,” Verma has mentioned in his hand-written application.
Earlier on March 11, Verma had moved for the first time the same court asking for the copy of the second chargesheet which was rejected. He moved the second application, stating that the superintendent of this court “made an endorsement in the said application that the documents prayed for in the application are not part of the record of the court…Therefore, the applicant wishes to take an inspection of the records lying in the custody of this court..”
Verma appeared as party-in-person to argue his case which was opposed by the CBI counsel R C Kodekar. Kodekar said that Verma had no locus standi in the case and he should explain in what capacity had he filed this plea. Verma responded that “he is the complainant in the case”.
But when Kodekar objected and said that “Verma is lying since the chairman of the SIT filed the FIR and he is not the whole of SIT”. Verma, then, explained that he was one of the three members of the Gujarat High Court appointed-Special Investigation Team (SIT) which lodged the FIR, based on which the CBI investigated the case. Opposing the IPS officer’s plea, Kodekar argued, “He has to convince the court that under what circumstances he wants to inspect the case papers.”
Verma had also assisted the CBI in the case as per the order of the High Court and it was his investigation that gave damning evidence against seven Gujarat police officers, including current DGP P P Pandey, who is posted as director, Anti-Corruption Bureau, DIG Girish Singhal, retired DIG D G Vanzara, among others. Verma and the CBI had differences even when the first chargesheet was filed. The CBI and Verma parted on a bitter note after the agency refused to accept Verma’s version of the chargesheet in the case in July 2013. It was said that Verma had prepared a draft chargesheet which differed with the line that the CBI took. CBI did not accept the draft he brought at the “11th hour”, naming more accused in the first chargesheet. This chargesheet has already been committed for trial, but the fate of second chargesheet, naming retired IB officer Rajinder Kumar and three others, is still pending.