On June 15, 2004, Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year-old suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba operative, along with her boyfriend Pranyesh Pillai alias Javed Shaikh and two Pakistani nationals were gunned down by Gujarat police. The Gujarat police had maintained that they were operatives of terror outfit LeT and were on a mission to assassinate the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. CBI had termed this encounter fake.
P P Pandey and three other then IPS officers D G Vanzara, G L Singhal and N K Amin, four cops and as many Intelligence Bureau officials were made accused in the case.Arrested in July 2013, Pandey spent around 19 months in jail before his release on bail in 2015 February. He was later taken back in to service and even promoted but had to resign from the post of in-charge DGP on April 3 last year. Former police officer Julio Rebeiro had filed a petition against his appointment as the top cop despite his being an accused in the case. The Supreme Court had asked him to step down.
In the discharge petition filed in January 2017 Pandey had claimed that the case was based on circumstantial evidence and the chain of events had not been established prima facie and there is no material on record to show what could be the motive to be a part of the so-called conspiracy.He had also said that the Central Bureau of Investigation had concocted the evidence by fabricating the statements of witnesses to somehow implicate him for political reasons.
Mother of Ishrat, Shamima Kauser, had opposed Pandey's discharge petition saying that he had concealed and misrepresented the case against him as disclosed by the CBI. The charge sheet dated July 3, 2013, discloses material that shows his clear involvement in the criminal conspiracy that culminated in the killings, Ms Kauser contended. She had claimed that Pandey had visited Ishrat several times during her illegal confinement in Khodiyar Farm on S.G.Highway from 12th June 2004 onwards. The statements, Ms Kauser asserted, of the witnesses recorded before a Judicial Magistrate also show that Pandey was part of the conspiracy which led to the illegal abduction, unlawful confinement and extra-judicial killing of her daughter.
CBI had also opposed the petition claiming that Pandey was one of the conspirators. The court, however, accepted Pandey's plea and allowed his discharge petition.It is likely to soon announce its verdict on the discharge petitions of two IB officials, Rajeev Wankhede and Tushar Mittal, accused by the CBI of involvement in the Ishrat case . They have challenged the special CBI court order which took cognisance of a supplementary charge sheet filed on February 2, 2014 and issued summons for their appearance.
The court took cognisance of this supplementary charge sheet almost four years after it was originally filed. A total of four IB officers were summoned based on this supplementary charge sheet – the others are former special director Rajinder Kumar and Mukul Sinha.Wankhede and Mittal have contended that permission had not been taken from the Centre to prosecute them.Ishrat's mother has also opposed these petitions.(UNI)