The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday submitted in writing that it had accepted the special CBI court’s May 2 order dropping all proceedings against retired IPS officers DG Vanzara and NK Amin. This implies that the investigating agency will not appeal against their discharge.
On March 26 this year, Vanzara and Amin filed an application in the special CBI court, seeking that all proceedings against them be dropped in light of the Gujarat government order declining sanction to the CBI to prosecute the two in the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case under section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Vanzara and Amin were facing charges of murder and conspiracy among other charges in the case. Last October, the CBI had approached the Gujarat government for sanction on directions of the special court. The court of special CBI judge JK Pandya in his May 2 order accepted the discharge applications of Vanzara and Amin in light of the state government’s refusal to sanction prosecution against the then accused in the alleged fake encounter.
The CBI’s written acceptance of the court’s order on Thursday came from authorities at the CBI headquarters in Mumbai and was submitted to the court of Judge RK Chudawala by CBI public prosecutor RC Kodekar. Sources said no grounds of acceptance has been mentioned per se in the application. This application implies that the investigating agency will not challenge the special CBI court’s order in a higher court.
Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kauser had opposed the discharge applications of Vanzara and Amin. It remains to be seen if Shamima appeals in a higher court.
Former DIG Vanzara and former SP Amin were among seven police officers chargesheeted in 2013 by the CBI in the alleged fake encounter case of 19-year-old Mumbra girl Ishrat, her friend Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh and two alleged Pakistani nationals, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana. The four were shot dead on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in June 2004. Police had claimed that the four were Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists who wanted to allegedly kill then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The CBI originally filed the case in 2013 against seven policemen, of whom three now stand discharged – P P Pandey, Vanzara and Amin. The case is currently at the stage of framing of charges by the special CBI court against the remaining accused – J G Parmar, G L Singhal, Tarunkumar Barot and Anaju Chaudhari. The case is now expected to be heard next on August 9.
In the court order of May 2 discharging the two former police officers, special CBI judge JK Pandya noted that it appeared that the investigating agency CBI “itself believed” that the actions of the accused (Vanzara and Amin) were part of their official duties. The court arrived at this conclusion due to an absence of endorsement or note of the CBI on the government’s denial of sanction to prosecute the two former police officers.