ISHRAT JAHAN ENCOUNTER

Uncanny time line so far
Hardnews Bureau Delhi

June 15, 2004: Ishrat Jahan, a resident of Mumbra, Maharashtra, and three others, Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, a Malayali trader, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana, said to be from Pakistan, are killed in an encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.  Other reports state that Zeeshan and Amjad are from Kashmir. The police claims that they belonged to LeT and had come on a mission to assassinate Narendra Modi. Later reports state that they were all in police custody at different stages, and were killed while in the custody of Gujarat Police. 

August 2009: Shamima Kausar, Ishrat’s mother, moves Gujarat High Court, asking for a CBI probe. The court rejects the plea and directs the Gujarat government to transfer the investigations to a senior panel of officers of rank not less than ADGP. Three IPS officers, Pramod Kumar, JK Bhatt and Mohan Jha, are appointed to look into the case. 

September 2009:  SP Tamang, metropolitan magistrate in Ahmedabad, in his inquiry report, makes scathing remarks and says the encounter was staged. He notes that Gujarat Police officers were involved in the conspiracy. 

June 2010: GL Singhal, IPS officer, requests the High Court to set aside the Tamang report. 

July 2010: Gujarat government opposes CBI inquiry into the encounter. 

September 2010: Gujarat High Court constitutes a new Special Investigation Team (SIT) after the earlier team expresses its inability to probe the encounter since it was already investigating the riot cases of 2002. The new SIT has three police officers: Karnail Singh, Mohan Jha and SatishVerma. 

November 2010: The Supreme Court rejects the Gujarat government’s plea challenging the High Court order to form an SIT to probe the encounter. 

December 2010: SIT starts investigating the June 2004 encounter. 

January 2011:SatishVerma moves court and accuses the other two SIT members of blocking an unbiased probe. In his affidavit he says that the encounter was staged. 

April 2011: The Gujarat High Court warns the Gujarat government that it will hand over the probe to a central agency if it does not allow the SIT to function and investigate the case. 

May 2011:Satyapal Singh, a Maharashtra-batch IPS officer, is brought in to replace Karnail Singh, who requests to be recused after his transfer to Mizoram. Satyapal later declines on the ground that he does not know Gujarati.

July 2011: RR Verma, a Bihar-cadre IPS officer, is appointed as head of SIT. 

November 2011: SIT submits its report. The report says that the encounter was staged. The two-judge bench of the High Court orders a fresh FIR under Section 302 of the IPC. 

December 2011: The court orders a CBI probe based on the SIT report which concluded that the encounter was fake. It also indicts the Gujarat Police for not supporting the investigations. The court asks SIT chief RR Verma to be a complainant in the fresh FIR to be filed. 

February 2013: CBI arrests GL Singhal for his alleged involvement in the encounter case. His name was also mentioned in the Tamang report. CBI arrests senior police officials JG Parmar and TarunBarot, who were leading the two teams which eventually gunned down Ishrat and others. 

March 2013: GL Singhal tenders his resignation over mistreatment by the state government. 

May 2013:Singhal and three others, including Barot and Parmar, get bail after CBI does not file the chargesheet in the stipulated time period. 

June 2013: Former Gujarat ATS chief DG Vanzara, already in jail for his involvement in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, is arrested by CBI. CBI probe now hovers around the intelligence input that led to the encounter. The input was given by the then Gujarat IB head, Rajendra Kumar. This revelation that CBI could arrest Kumar causes considerable unease within IB and BJP. Reports suggest that there is clear evidence that the encounter was fake. Even the Sadiq Jamal encounter was clearly staged. Names of two cops and the political leadership in a nexus surfaces. Phone call records are traced. The role of Modi and Amit Shah under the scanner.

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: JULY 2013