Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SC stays HC order in Ishrat case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a Gujarat high court order distributing administrative and investigation work between two members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Ishrat Jahan encounter killing case.
A Bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar stayed the HC order after senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for 14 accused cops, said that the SIT was already without its head and the distribution of work was bound to create bias in the report. He said there was already considerable difference of opinion between two members — Mohan Jha and Satish Verma — in the absence of Karnail Singh, who had opted out of the SIT after being posted to Mizoram.
While Singh was nominated to the SIT by the Centre, Jha was Gujarat’s choice and Verma’s name was suggested by the petitioner, who is father of Pranesh Pillai. Pranesh and Ishrat were allegedly killed in a fake encounter by the Gujarat police.
Kumar further argued that if the HC had appointed SIT to probe the case, it could not have meant a one-member team as of the two members, one has been asked to look after administrative work of SIT.
The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 11 and said the stay on the HC order bifurcating work between the two SIT members would operate till then.
Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. After the encounter, the city crime branch had claimed that the deceased were LeT terrorists who had come to kill Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

Mystery cop in SIT probe

IG Satish Verma has been accused of taking help from an IPS officer in the Ishrat encounter probe. Gujarat high court had earlier permitted SIT member Verma to take assistance from an officer of his choice in the investigation. But the cops involved in the encounter have objected to the involvement of this mystery cop who is not part of the SIT and has not been mandated by the HC to investigate the case

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