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Gujarat’s in-charge Director General of Police (DGP) P P Pandey has filed discharge application in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. Pandey, the seniormost chargesheeted accused in the case, is out on bail. The application is likely to come up for hearing on January 12. In Ishrat Jahan case, this is the first instance when an accused has filed a discharge application. On Friday, Pandey confirmed to The Indian Express that he had sought discharge from the court. In the application, Pandey has claimed that “there is on case made out against him and no specific role has been attributed to him by the witnesses”.
Sources in the court said that the application is yet to be registered by the court since it was delayed after special CBI judge S J Raje recused from hearing the case. On Thursday, the case was assigned to new judge J K Pandya, who is expected to hear the case. Sources said that Pandey’s arguments for discharge is based on the grounds on which he was granted bail.
One of the grounds he has put forth is the delay in the trial. Pandey has said that the supplementary chargesheet, filed by the CBI in February 2014 against four Intelligence Bureau officers, including retired Special Director Rajinder Kumar and three serving officers, are yet to be taken on record by the concerned magisterial court of the special CBI court. This chargesheet has not been registered and no order has been passed by the court.
Pandey had raised similar issue in the bail application, stating, “There is nothing on record of the court to what clarification has been sought from the investigating officer by the court, but on perusing the said order it transpires that some verbal clarification might have been sought for by the court, but the fact remains that the said supplementary chargesheet has not been taken on record nor has been registered by the then Court of ACJM as criminal case and this conduct clearly suggests that the prosecuting agency intends to cause inordinate delay to commence the trial.”
Pandey was chargesheeted by the CBI in 2013, along with IPS (retired) D G Vanzara, IPS G L Singhal, Superintendent of Police N K Amin, Deputy Superintendent of Police Tarun Barot and two other officers who are all out on bail. They were chargesheeted for conspiracy, kidnapping and murder, among other offences. Singhal is currently posted as group commandant in the State Reserve Police. Amin is SP of Tapi district while Barot is serving as DySP, headquarters, Western Railway in Vadodara.