THE GUJARAT government on Tuesday promoted IPS officer G L Singhal, who is out on bail in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan case, to the rank of Inspector General of Police (IGP). Singhal is one of the five 2001-batch IPS officers of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) rank to be promoted to the rank of IGP.
Vipul Aggarwal, who was recently discharged by the Bombay High Court in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case, has also been promoted to the rank of IGP. He is currently posted in Ahmedabad as Additional Commissioner of Police (Administration). Aggarwal was reinstated in November 2014 after being granted bail in the Sohrabuddin case.
Singhal was arrested by the CBI in February 2013, in connection with the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat, a 19-year-old girl from Mumbai, and three others on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. Following his arrest, the state government suspended him from service. Singhal was later granted bail after the CBI failed to file a chargesheet within 90 days.
In February 2014, Singhal asked the state government to reinstate him. Three months later, the government passed an order to reinstate him and also promoted him to the rank of DIG. The CBI chargesheet said that Singhal, then Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad Crime Branch, was part of the conspiracy - involving kidnapping, illegal confinement and murder of Ishrat, her friend Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, and two Pakistanis, Amjadali Rana and Zeeshan Johar - in 2004.
Former IPS officer D G Vanzara, former Superintendent of Police N K Amin, former Deputy Superintendent of Police Tarun Barot are among the seven accused policemen in the case. One of the accused, former DGP P P Pandey, was discharged by the special CBI court last year.
In his statement to the CBI, Singhal had said: "My differences were basically on two points. One, the motive in the draft FIR (of 2004) mentioned a plan to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi. But this was wrong. Since I had interrogated Amjadali, I knew the motive was different. Two, I had serious objections to killing the girl, Ishrat. I had said we should let her go, and had promised to ensure that she would not spill the beans about this operation to anyone. Despite my strong objections, Vanzara insisted on keeping the motive involving the chief minister and on killing the girl and branding her as a woman terrorist."
Singhal had also handed two pen drives, containing 267 voice recordings, to the CBI that suggested illegal surveillance of a woman architect by Gujarat Police. The tapes that were aired by news portals - Cobrapost and Gulail - showed policemen intercepting telephone conversations, allegedly on the order of then Gujarat Minister of State for Home Amit Shah. Singhal will continue to remain in his post at Commando Training Centre in Gandhinagar.