AHMEDABAD: In a major relief for retired senior cops DG Vanzara and NK Amin, the Gujarat government has refused sanction to prosecute them in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case, CBI told a special court on Tuesday.
CBI counsel RC Kodekar informed the court about denial of prosecution sanction under Section 197 of the CrPC and placed a letter sent by the state government to CBI in a sealed cover.
The refusal of permission to prosecute the cops by the government suggests that it believes that 19-year-old Mumbra girl Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were shot dead on June 15, 2004, by the cops in the line of discharge of their duty.
After the state government refused prosecution sanction to CBI, both the cops requested the CBI court that the criminal case against them be dropped. Their advocates sought the court’s permission to file applications for the same. The court has posted further hearing in the case on March 26.
Meanwhile, CBI has maintained that there was no requirement of prosecution sanction to try Vanzara and Amin because they were charged with murder and criminal conspiracy. A trial against them could be proceeded without such sanction, the agency said.
Pleading innocence, Vanzara and Amin had sought discharge from the case on the ground of absence of criminal prosecution from the state government. The court had last year rejected the discharge pleas and asked CBI to obtain necessary permission to prosecute the cops. Accordingly, CBI had requested the state government to grant prosecution sanction.
Retired DIG Vanzara and retired SP Amin were among eight police officials charged by CBI in the Ishrat case. Former in-change DGP PP Pandey has been discharged by the court in this case.
Earlier, the Centre had refused to grant prosecution sanction in this case for four Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials, including former special director Rajinder Kumar.
Vanzara and Amin have been discharged in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case earlier by a Mumbai CBI court.
After the shootout on June 15, 2004, the Ahmedabad crime branch declared that Ishrat and the three others were Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, who had come to Gujarat to kill then chief minister Narendra Modi in order to avenge the 2002 riots.
Source: Times of India