A special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday, 31 March discharged three accused Gujarat police officials in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case and dropped the proceedings against them.
The CBI special court dropped the proceedings after the Gujarat government refused the sanction to prosecute the three accused - IPS officer GL Singhal, retired DySP Tarun Barot and an assistant sub-inspector Anaju Chaudhary.
They were released on personal bond of Rs 15,000 each, IANS reported.
Jahan and her companions Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana, were shot dead on 15 June, 2004 on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in an allegedly fake police encounter.
The three officials faced charges of murder, criminal conspiracy, abduction and illegal detention of the 19-year-old girl from Mumbra.
What the Court Observed
CBI counsel RC Kodekar on Wednesday while arguing said that the sanction refused by the Gujarat government is “without application of mind” and so the application of the accused should be dismissed.
The CBI Court, however, believed the Gujarat Police which said that “they had received information from Intelligence Bureau (IB) that four terrorist had entered Gujarat and in retaliation police fired resultantly killing them all therefore the Act was carried out by the police officers while carrying out their duties.”
“In the present case, the CBI has not filed any application seeking sanction for prosecution. When it has been established that the accused have acted while performing their official duties the CBI ought to have got sanction for prosecution,” the court observed, as quoted by IANS.
Special CBI judge Vipul Rawal allowed the discharge application from the offences under the IPC 341, 342, 343, 365, 368, 302 and 201 and under section 25 (1)(e) and 27 of Indian Arms Act, IANS reported.
On 23 October, the court had rejected discharge applications filed by these three accused citing the need of prosecution sanction under Section 197 of the CrPC. Under this section, a sanction is required for prosecuting government servants for anything done in the discharge of official duty.
Earlier, seven policemen were indicted in a sessions court. One of the accused and the complainant, JG Parmar, died during the pendency of the proceedings. A commando, Mohan Kalasava, died by the time CBI filed the charge sheet.
In 2019, retired DIG DG Vanzara and SP NK Amin were discharged from the case after the state government refused to accord prosecution sanction. Earlier, the court had discharged former in-charge DGP PP Pandey in this case.
The Centre had refused to grant the permission for prosecution sanction in this case for four Intelligence Bureau officials including former special director, Rajinder Kumar, following which the court had refused to accept the supplementary charge sheet filed against them citing absence of the sanction.
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