The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday opposed the discharge application of Gujarat’s Director General of Police P P Pandey, who is an accused in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. The CBI has stated that Pandey, in-charge police chief of the state, has been chargesheeted for conspiracy to be read with murder and other offences and, therefore, his application “be rejected in the interest of justice”. The CBI, however, has not challenged Pandey’s bail, stating that the grounds for his bail and his discharge are different.
The CBI filed its reply in response to Pandey’s discharge plea before the special court on Tuesday. The reply dismisses Pandey’s allegation that he was “falsely implicated by the CBI for political reasons”. It says, “It is pertinent to mention that the applicant failed to appear before the IO (investigation officer) and before the court and proclamation was issued against him.”
Contending against the allegations made by Pandey, who is out on bail, that the case is based on circumstantial evidence and there is no material on record to show his motive to be part of the conspiracy, the CBI responded, “It is not mandatory to prove the motive in criminal cases.” Pandey has also raised the question on the CBI investigation by turning the accused policemen as witnesses whose testimonies are based on hearsay. He has also alleged that CBI “pressurised and lured witnesses to implicate him”.
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The CBI’s response states, “There are eye-witnesses who corroborate the role of the applicant in the conspiracy of the offence.” According to CBI, Pandey was one of the conspirators in the alleged offence. “He had met two of the deceased i.e Javed and Ishrat Jahan, during their illegal custody at Khodiyar farmhouse,” the CBI’s reply stated.
“Further, on 13.06.2004, he, along with DG Vanzara and Rajinder Kumar were talking about Lashkar-e-Taiba operation. Despite knowing the fact of prior illegal detention, P P Pandey allegedly gave information to J G Parmar that he received specific information from personal source about fidayeens. Investigation revealed his active involvement in the conspiracy,” the CBI stated.
Apart from Pandey, the CBI chargesheeted six policemen, including Vanzara, DIG G L Singhal, Superintendent of Police N K Amin, Deputy Superintendent of Police Tarun Barot. The second chargesheet was filed against four IB officials, including former special director Rajinder Kumar, but the chargesheet remained pending before the special CBI court after Home Ministry refused to grant permission to prosecute these officers. Interestingly, on Pandey’s contention in his discharge plea that the CBI didn’t take prior sanction for prosecuting him under section 197 of the CrPC, the CBI has stated, “In the instant matter, sanction under section 197 is not required.”