UPDATED: March 31, 2021 13:58 IST
A special CBI court in Ahmedabad on Wednesday discharged police officers in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case.
Special CBI judge V R Raval on Wednesday allowed the discharge applications of G L Singhal, Tarun Barot (now retired) and Anaju Chaudhary. The three, also the last accused facing prosecution in the case, had filed applications before the court on March 20, seeking “dropping of proceedings for want of requisite sanction”.
Following their plea, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the court that the Gujarat government had declined prosecution sanction against the three accused in the encounter case. “The Gujarat government has declined sanction for the prosecution of the three accused. We submitted the letter to the court,” RC Kodekar, the special prosecutor, had said.
The court had in its October 2020 order observed that they had “acted in their official duties,” so the probe agency was required to obtain prosecution sanction.
The CBI had named seven police officers — Pandey, Vanzara, Amin, Singhal, Barot, Parmar, and Chaudhary – as accused in its first charge sheet filed in 2013.
In 2019, the CBI court had dropped proceedings against former police officers D G Vanzara and N K Amin in the case after the state government similarly refused sanction. In 2018, former in-charge Director General of Police P P Pandey was discharged from the case. Parmar died during the course of the hearing.
Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year-old woman from Mumbra near Mumbai, was killed along with Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar by Gujarat Police in an alleged encounter near Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
The police had claimed the four were terrorists who they claimed were planning to assassinate then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
However, a high court-appointed Special Investigation Team concluded that the encounter was fake, after which the CBI registered a case against various police officials.