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IPS officers N K Amin and Tarun Barot, who were given post-retirement jobs in Gujarat police by the state government following their release from custody, offered to step down from their posts Thursday, a day after the Supreme Court raised questions about their appointments.
As soon as a bench of Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud took up the matter for hearing, the counsel for the two officers told the court that they would step down today itself. The court recorded the submission.
On Wednesday, the court, while hearing a petition filed by Rahul Sharma, another retired Gujarat cadre IPS officer, raised questions on the appointment of Amin and told the state government “either you take a call by tomorrow or we will deal with the issue. There were two serious allegations against him and, in one case, he has been in jail for eight years”.
Sharma had challenged the re-appointment of Amin and Barot as SP and DSP respectively, saying they had serious charges against them.
Sharma alleged that Amin had been chargesheeted by the CBI in two encounter cases and had already spent “close to eight years in judicial custody” but was immediately re-instated as SP after his release. “Moreover, Tarun Barot is also a chargesheeted accused in two different cases of abduction and murder of various persons. He too was arrested in the aforementioned cases and spent close to three years in judicial custody,” the petition stated.
Appointments were made despite “bearing in mind the questionable track record of the two officers” and these were in violation of guidelines of the Supreme Court and “the doctrine of public trust”, Sharma contended.
While Amin faced trial in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh killing case and the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter, Barot was accused in the Sadiq Jamal and Ishrat Jahan cases. Amin was, however, discharged in the Sohrabuddin case.
The court also referred to the case of former Gujarat DGP P P Pandey, who was given a promotion and three-month extension despite being out on bail in the Ishrat Jahan case. Pandey had offered to quit and later put in his papers on the court’s prodding.
Appearing for Gujarat, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had backed Amin’s re-induction, saying he had been in jail for eight years for different reasons. “I don’t want to elaborate but he has been in jail for eight years for different reasons. He has contributed immensely towards safety and security of public,” Mehta said.
In the court, Amin and Barot defended their re-appointment. In his affidavit, Barot mentioned that he received “445 prizes and medals during his elaborative and illustrious career… and in 2003, he got Presidential award by the then President APJ Abdul Kalam for meritorious service.”
The affidavit mentioned that Barot arrested gangster Abdul Wahab from Lokhandwala Complex, Mumbai and said he was instrumental in nabbing “dreaded gangster Abdul Latif infamously known as Dawood Ibrahim of Gujarat who was involved in many abhorrent crimes”. It listed his role in the arrest of alleged members of Indian Mujahideen and Student’s Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) who were behind the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts.
On the Sadiq Jamal and Ishrat Jahan cases, Barot’s affidavit claimed he had been implicated “because of political pressure” and “made scapegoat”.
When contacted, Barot told The Indian Express: “I did everything in the interest of the nation. My 90-year-old father is a freedom fighter who never claimed pension. He is happy and proud of me. I have nothing else to say.”
Amin’s affidavit said he had been already discharged from the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case and that the CBI’s Ishrat Jahan case was “weak”.
“There are several other police officers who were allegedly involved in aforesaid cases of alleged fake encounters. Out of several officers against whom allegations of false counter (sic) have been made, most of them enjoy the privilege of being in service of the state,” Amin’s affidavit stated.