Nine years after 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan was killed along with three others by Gujarat Police,CBI today ruled out her involvement in terror activities and said she was accompanying Javed Sheikh on his trip to Ahmedabad as he was her employer.
CBI sources said here although the agency has not mentioned antecedents of either of four individuals Javed Sheikh,Ishrat Jahan,Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar killed in the encounter on June 15,2004,it plans to give a detailed report on the conspiracy which led to the extra-judicial killings in the supplementary charge sheet.
The sources said the agency has also found during its probe that the FIR of the encounter,in which four persons were killed on June 15,2004,was prepared before the encounter took place by the Gujarat Police. Contrary to various theories on the reasons why Ishrat chose to accompany Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai on his trip to Gujarat where they were killed,CBI sources said she was an employee of Sheikh who had helped her family during a crisis.
The sources said Sheikh was an employee of Ishrat’s father and was known to their family for quite a long time. Sheikh later established his own business in Mumbai and was doing well. They said after the death of Ishrat’s father,family was in dire need of money and for the sake of goodwill,Sheikh gave her employment in his business. CBI found in its investigation that Ishrat accompanied Sheikh on his trip to Ahmedabad where they were allegedly picked by officials of subsidiary intelligence bureau,state unit of country’s snooping agency Intelligence Bureau,and Gujarat Crime Branch officials.
The sources said Ishrat and Javed were allegedly picked up from Vasad in Gujarat three-four days before the fake encounter and kept at a farmhouse in the illegal custody of SIB and Gujarat Crime Branch officials. They said Rana was allegedly intercepted by the SIB and Gujarat Police officials in May,nearly a month before the fake encounter,while Johar was allegedly picked up in April,nearly two months before the encounter.
The sources said the then SIB Chief Rajinder Kumar,now Special Director Intelligence Bureau,ADGP Gujarat Police P P Pandey,who is absconding,and the then DIG Crime branch D G Vanzara,who is under judicial custody,held a meeting at Vanzara’s office in Ahmedabad where it was decided to kill Sheikh,Johar,and Rana. The sources said,however,there was a difference of opinion about the fate of Ishrat during the meeting.
On the day of encounter,June 15,2004,a Gujarat police official allegedly drove Sheikh,Ishrat and Johar in the Blue Indica car,owned by Sheikh,from the farmhouse where they were kept in illegal custody to the location of encounter on an empty stretch of road between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Rana was brought in a different car to the location and all four were killed by Gujarat crime branch officials in a staged encounter,CBI claimed in its charge sheet filed today. The sources said role of Kumar,the then SIB Chief,and two other officials of the IB is under the scanner of the agency and they are likely to be named as accused in the supplementary charge sheet to be filed by the agency.
The sources said the agency’s probe is based on material evidence collected by it,voluminous call records and statements of at least 20 witnesses who have recorded their accounts before a competent Magistrate. None of the seven policemen who have been made accused in the charge sheet today have given their statements before the Magistrate under Section 164.