31 Mar 2021: Ishrat Jahan encounter case: 3 Gujarat cops discharged by court
In the high-profile Ishrat Jahan encounter case, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Wednesday discharged three accused police officers: GL Singhal, Tarun Barot, and Anaju Chaudhari.
The trio had filed a discharge application on March 20.
With the court's order, the trial has practically come to an end, unless the CBI decides to appeal against it.
Here are more details.
Court: Prima facie, nothing on record suggests they weren't terrorists: Court
Special CBI judge VR Raval on Wednesday noted that "prima facie, there was nothing on record to suggest" that Ishrat Jahan, and the four others killed, "were not terrorists."
The fact that the CBI had not appealed against the four other officers previously discharged in the case was cited as grounds for the discharge of Singhal, Barot, and Chaudhari.
Quote: 'Cops were doing their duty; no question of fake encounter'
In its order, the court said, "It is clear that the act which is alleged to have been done by the accused was in discharge of their duties or purported to be in discharge of their duties."
"Being high-rank police officers, it was their duty to take necessary steps. There is no question of any fake encounter on part of any such police officer."
Encounter: Jahan, 3 others, were killed in encounter in 2004
On June 15, 2004, Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Pillai Amjad Ali Rana, and Zeeshan Johar were killed near Kotarpur waterworks on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, by the Ahmedabad City Detection of Crime Branch, then led by Vanzara (one of the accused).
It was alleged that they were operatives of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit out to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Fact: CBI named 7 cops in a chargesheet filed in 2013
In a chargesheet filed in 2013, CBI had named seven police officers as accused: PP Pandey, Vanzara, NK Amin, JG Parmar, Singhal, Barot, and Chaudhari. All the accused were charged with murder, abduction, and destruction of evidence among other charges.
Accused: What happened to the other accused?
Pandey was discharged in 2018, followed by Vanzara and Amin in May 2019 after the state government refused sanction to prosecute them.
Meanwhile, Parmar was abated following his death in September 2020.
On March 20, the CBI special public prosecutor submitted a sealed report containing the state government's refusal to grant sanction to prosecute Singhal, Barot, and Chaudhari.