Gopinatha Pillai, the father of Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, who was killed allegedly in a fake encounter along with Ishrat Jahan in 2004, died Friday after he was injured in a road accident, police said. A native of Thamarakkulam in Alappuzha district, 77-year-old Pillai was on his way to Kochi on Wednesday morning when the car, he was traveling in, hit a truck. He was admitted to a hospital in Kochi, but died on Friday. After Pranesh’s death, Pillai was living with his younger son Aravind. His wife had died earlier.
Pranesh was among the four people who were shot dead on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. The others gunned down were Ishrat Jahan, Zeeshan Johar and Amzad Rana. Police termed them Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives allegedly on a mission to kill then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
Pillai had joined Jahan’s mother in her legal fight in the Supreme Court. He had travelled to Ahmedabad at least 18 times to depose before the Special Investigation Team, which in 2011 had found that Jahan and others were killed in a fake encounter. In December last year, he had moved a petition opposing the discharge petition filed by former in-charge DGP of Gujarat P P Pandey. After Pranesh’s death, Pillai sold his property to rehabilitate his widowed daughter-in-law and her three children.