The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday said that it has approached the Gujarat government for permission to prosecute retired IPS officer D G Vanzara and former superintendent of police N K Amin in connection with the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
The CBI’s submission comes on an order passed by the special CBI court in August this year. While rejecting the discharge applications of Vanzara and Amin, the court had directed the CBI “to either obtain sanction for prosecution from the concerned authority or declare in writing the legal position as per the law, with regard to sanction for prosecution against the accused”.
“We have approached the state government for the sanction (to prosecute Vanzara and Amin,” CBI inspector Ketan Mehta told special judge J K Pandya Monday.
Asked by the judge how much time will the CBI take to get the sanction, Mehta responded by saying “it will take time”. The court adjourned the hearing in the matter to November 22.
Sources said that the CBI had written a letter to Gujarat Chief Secretary J N Singh on October 9, requesting permission for prosecuting the two former police officers under section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), that mandates the probe agency to seek the government’s permission before prosecuting a public servant.
When contacted by The Indian Express, Chief Secretary Singh told to enquire with home department. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Anand Mohan Tiwari did not respond to calls on Monday for a response.
Before filing charges against seven Gujarat policemen, including former DGP P P Pandey, Vanzara, IPS officer G L Singhal, N K Amin, Tarun Barot among others in 2013 in the encounter case, the CBI, however, did not taken permission from the state government under the CrPC provision.
The CBI’s stand has been that in the case of conspiracy and murder, there is no need for taking prior sanction from the government for prosecution. While opposing the discharge application of former DGP P P Pandey, the CBI had told the court: “…it (Ishrat Jahan encounter) is a clear case of conspiracy and fake encounter and therefore, it cannot be said that the applicant accused has acted in discharge of his official duty. Hence, for such offence no sanction for prosecution is required.”
Pandey was later discharged by the court.
In 2014, the CBI, while filing a supplementary chargesheet against four co-accused Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers, including former special director Rajinder Kumar, had stated in a note that it has sought permission from the Central government to prosecute the IB officers.
A year later, the Union Home Ministry, however, declined permission to the CBI. Because of denial of sanction, summons issued against the accused IB officers were scrapped by the court earlier this year, and the chargesheet against IB officers remains pending with the court.