Nov 22nd 2011 -NEW DELHI: A day after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) told the Gujarat High Court that the Ishrat Jahan encounter was not genuine, former Home Secretary GK Pillai has defended the Gujarat government’s claim that the Intelligence Bureau had given inputs against Ishrat.
Pillai has told CNN-IBN that from the evidence available, it was clear that Ishrat and others were involved in suspicious activities. “Ishrat used to live with another man in different hotels, which definitely was suspicious.”
He recalled that the Lashkar-e-Toiba website had called her a martyr and later removed it.
He also said that the SIT report was not a comment on whether Ishrat was a terrorist or not. “The SIT only said that from the evidence available, it was found out that the encounter was fake, but there was no word on whether Ishrat and other were alleged terrorists or not,” Pillai said.
In a huge setback to the Narendra Modi government, the SIT, on Monday, told the Gujarat High Court on Monday that the Ishrat Jahan encounter was not genuine. After the SIT filed its report, the High Court ordered that a complaint under Indian Penal Code Section 302 (murder) has to be filed against those involved in the fake encounter.
The SIT, headed by IPS officer RR Verma and including two other seniors police officers Mohan Jha and Satish Verma, said that Ishrat along with Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed prior to the date of encounter on June 15, 2004. All three SIT officers came to an unanimous conclusion that the encounter was fake.
The arguments in the case will continue over the issue of who will file an FIR and investigate the case.
Those accused in the case include then Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) PP Pande, suspended Deputy Inspector General DG Vanzara, then Assistant Commissioner of Police GL Singhal and Assistant Commissioner of Police NK Amin – all IPS officers. There were total of 21 policemen, including the IPS officers, involved in the fake encounter.
Vanzara and Amin are also accused in the Soharabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and murder of Sheikh’s wife Kausar Bi and are presently behind bars.
A division bench of justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari on October 7, had directed the SIT to submit the final report that would conclude if the encounter of the four persons, claimed by Gujarat Police to be terrorists, was genuine or fake.
Ishrat, a 19-year-old college girl, along with Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed by Ahmedabad Crime Branch on June 15, 2004.
The Crime Branch had then claimed the four were members of terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba and were on a mission to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The probe in the case was supervised directly by the High Court which constituted the SIT in 2010 to investigate the genuineness of the encounter after petitions were filed by Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kausar and Gopinath Pillai raising questions about the police version of the incident.
Ishrat case timeline
June 15, 2004: Gujarat Police claimed that they had killed Ishrat Jahan and three others killed on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The police claimed the four were members of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba on a mission to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
September 2009: Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate SP Tamang calls the encounter fake.
August 2010: Gujarat HC asks Supreme Court-appointed SIT headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan (investigating the Gujarat riots) to take up the case.
September 2010: The HC constitutes a new SIT after Raghavan-headed SIT expressed its inability to undertake the probe.
November 2010: The Supreme Court rejects the Gujarat government’s plea challenging the HC order to form the new SIT.
December 2010: Three-member SIT begins investigation in the case and starts recording statements of the witnesses, police officials involved.
January 28, 2011: SIT member Satish Varma files affidavit stating that the encounter was a fake one. He also accuses other two members of not allowing the probe to be done in an unbiased manner.
April 8, 2011: Gujarat HC division bench warns the state authorities that the court will hand over the probe to central agencies like CBI or NIA if the state does not allow SIT to probe without hindrance.
Feb 7, 2014 – CBI Charges former IB officer with murder of Ishrat Jahan. The case is now not whether Ishrat was a terrorist but if she was killed in a fake encounter !
Feb 12, 2014 – Ishrat was part of Terror Plot say Ex-IB officer
It must be noted that LeT terrorist David Headley had also acknoweledged that Ishrat Jahan was a LeT suicide bomber
Feb 11 2016
David Coleman Headley, one of the prime accused in the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, told a special Mumbai court on Thursday that Ishrat Jehan, the 19-year-old girl who was killed in an alleged ‘fake encounter’ in 2004, was affiliated to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
While deposing before the court via video link from an undisclosed spot in the United States, Headley said that there was a women’s wing in the LeT.