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Ishrat Jahan Case: Ex-Gujarat Policemen Vanzara, NK Amin Dropped

The two former cops had sought that the proceedings against them in the case be dropped.

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Nineteen-year-old Ishrat Jahan was killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2004.
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A special CBI court in Mirzapur, Ahmedabad ordered to drop proceedings against retired Gujarat police officers DG Vanzara and NK Amin in the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case, on 2 May, Thursday,

The court had concluded hearing in the case on 16 April.

The two former cops had sought that the proceedings against them in the case be dropped, as the Gujarat government had decided to not grant sanction to the CBI to prosecute them.

Under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the government's sanction is necessary for the prosecution of a public servant for an act done as part of the official duty.

Vinod Gajjar, who represented Vanzara, said the court’s order establishes that the encounter was genuine, reported The Indian Express.

Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kauser said the state government was not the appropriate authority to refuse sanction to prosecute the two officers. Her lawyer, Vrinda Grover, told The Quint that Kauser will challenge this order in the High Court and continue her struggle for justice

Shamima Kauser’s Application

The case dates back to 2004 when 19-year-old Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed by the police in the alleged fake encounter near Ahmedabad. The police had claimed they were terrorists and came to Gujarat to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi.

Police claimed they were terrorists and planning to kill then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by Gujarat High Court had later concluded that the encounter was fake, after which the HC had transferred the case to the CBI.

While the CBI had refused to take a stand on the state government's decision to decline sanction to prosecute the two former police officers, Ishrat Jahan’s mother, Shamima Kauser, opposed their applications.

In a submission made through lawyer Vrinda Grover, Kauser had earlier said that their plea seeking dropping of proceedings were “untenable in law and unsustainable on facts” and that the state government was “not the appropriate authority” to refuse sanction to prosecute the two officers.
“It is a matter of record that it is the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, and not the state of Gujarat, which is the appropriate sanctioning authority in the present case,’
Advocate Vrinda Grover, on behalf of Shamima Kausar, mother of Ishrat Jahan

In the first charge sheet filed by the investigative agency in 2013, seven Gujarat police officers, including IPS officers PP Pandey, Vanzara and GL Singhal, were named as accused. The court had later discharged Pandey.

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‘Sufficient Evidence Against Vanzara & Amin’

“Despite holding that there exists sufficient evidence against Vanzara and Amin, the court today has allowed the proceedings to be dropped on the grounds that the state of Gujarat did not grant sanction for prosecution as required under Section 197 CrPC for prosecution of public servants.”
Advocate Vrinda Grover, on behalf of Shamima Kausar, mother of Ishrat Jahan

According to Grover, Section 197 CrPC provides that sanction is required to prosecute public servants only for acts committed in the course of their official duty and for acts which are inextricably connected to the performance of the government servants duty.

She further added that in multiple landmark judgments of the Supreme Court illegal detention even for a few days, can only be outside the scope of a police officers duty.

The illegal abduction, unlawful detention and murder of Ishrat Jahan and others can thus never fall within the course of duty, and no sanction is required for acts which are outside the scope of a police officers duty.

Meanwhile, Vanzara's lawyer VD Gajjar had defended the pleas seeking dropping of proceedings, saying the court cannot determine the validity of the sanction order and any review was not possible.

He had said that judicial findings in the case had established that there was no "fake encounter" on the part of the police officers.

Gajjar had said the sanction for prosecution was declined after the state government went through the material on record, examined fully the facts and circumstances of the case.

(With Inputs from PTI)

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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