The Supreme Court, on 3 April, allowed the Gujarat government to accept Director General of Police PP Pandey’s request to relinquish his office forthwith.
A bench, of Chief Justice JS Khehar and DY Chandrachud, recorded the submission of Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, that the top police officer – who is on extension till 30 April this year – has written a letter expressing willingness to step down forthwith if the government so desired.
In view of determination of the state government, we are of the view that the main petition has been rendered infructuous.
Pandey's appointment, and extension as, the DGP and the IGP was challenged through a PIL.
The apex court had, on 31 March, asked the Gujarat government to file its response to a plea against a promotion and a three-month extension to Pandey, who is out on bail in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, while refusing to give it time till Friday to file the counter affidavit.
The ASG had sought time from the bench and told the court that Pandey had served the force for 30 years.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for the petitioner – former Mumbai Police Commissioner Julio Francis Ribeiro – had said that Pandey was granted bail, reinstated, promoted and rewarded despite being an accused in a murder case.
The Centre's Appointments Committee of the Cabinet had granted the three-month extension to Pandey, who was to retire on 31 January.
Pandey was heading the state crime branch when Ishrat, a 19-year-old girl based in Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar, were killed in an alleged encounter with the police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on 15 June 2004. Gujarat police had claimed they had terror links and had plotted to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
An SIT, constituted by the high court to investigate the case, concluded that it was a fake encounter, following which the HC transferred the case to CBI.
After being released on bail, Pandey was taken back into service in February 2015 and appointed the Director of the state's Anti Corruption Bureau. On April 16 last year, Pandey was appointed the in-charge DGP of Gujarat.
(With inputs from PTI)
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