Rejecting CBIs persistent request not to accord any reprieve,the Supreme Court Friday gave absconding Gujarat IPS officer P P Pandey two days to surrender before the Ahmedabad trial court. Pandey has been named as an accused in the latest chargesheet of the CBI in the alleged 2004 fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others.
We are giving him protection only for two days. He will not be arrested till Monday. He will have to surrender before the designated court on Monday and if he does not,the protection automatically gets vacated. You should not have problems with that. We are not passing any orders nor commenting on the merits of the case, a Bench led by Justice B S Chauhan said.
Disposing of a petition by the 1980-batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre,the Bench also made it clear that Pandey will be at liberty to avail all legal remedies available to him,including a bail plea,and that the trial court will decide it in accordance with the law.
The order came after senior advocate Jaspal Singh,appearing for Pandey,assured that his client would appear before the trial court and submit to the legal process after two days and that he should be protected till then.
He also sought a liberty to move for bail,apprehending immediate arrest on surrender since he had been declared a proclaimed offender in the case. The Bench however said it was not going to write anything in its order because Pandey was free to take legal recourse available to him.
Meanwhile,Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising,appearing for CBI,opposed the courts order on giving protection to Pandey even for two days. She said this would mean condonation of his wrongful conduct.
The Bench,however,overruled her objections and granted Pandey interim protection from arrest for two days.
Pandey apprehended arrest after the trial court issued an arrest warrant against him on May 2 for his repeated failure to respond to the summons of CBI and present himself for inquiry. Later,CBI had also sought the assistance of the Gujarat Police to trace Pandey,who it alleged to be absconding.