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SC stays SIT probe after accused policemen’s plea

The case will be heard in detail then. The Ishrat Jahan encounter case,a pressure-point against the BJP-led Narendra Modi government,was turned over to the SIT by the Gujarat High Court on September 24,2010

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi | Published: May 4, 2011 12:23:17 am

A group of 14 Gujarat policemen,both serving and retired,on Tuesday challenged the shrinking of the three-member SIT team formed by the Gujarat High Court to investigate the Ishrat Jahan encounter case into “one-man probe”,and that too by the very officer who,they said,had already “made up his mind that the encounter was fake”.

The group led by IPS officer Girish Laxman Singhal fear they would be victimised by the SIT for their alleged involvement in the encounter and complain of “serious groupism and in-fighting among senior IPS officers” in the Gujarat Police.

Their urgent plea that the investigation be transferred to the CBI or an independent team of police officers from outside Gujarat,convinced a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice B Sudershan Reddy to order an immediate stay on the SIT’s investigation till May 11. The case will be heard in detail then.

The Ishrat Jahan encounter case,a pressure-point against the BJP-led Narendra Modi government,was turned over to the SIT by the Gujarat High Court on September 24,2010.

But within seven months,the high court on April 21,2011 intervened again to divide the team after its leader Karnail Singh was posted to Mizoram.

Mohan Jha was delegated only administrative duties and Satish Verma,a 1986-batch officer,given exclusive charge of the investigation.

“It is a matter of record that the three officers of the SIT were not comfortable with each other,” the petition claims.

The policemen said their application before the high court to reconsider its decision,to divide the SIT team and hand over exclusive charge of the investigation to Verma,was not permitted an ‘urgent’ hearing.

In January this year,Verma had filed an affidavit in the Gujarat High Court,stating that the encounter was fake.

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