New Delhi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Amit Shah are set to get a reprieve in the controversial Ishrat Jahan encounter case. Contrary to media reports, neither Modi nor Shah will reportedly have any mention in the CBI chargesheet, which is to be filed in the Gujarat High Court on Thursday.
Intelligence Bureau Special Director Rajendra Kumar, who is also in the line of the fire, is not reportedly named in the chargesheet. Sources have told CNN-IBN that the CBI has decided to play safe and is only focusing on the eight police officers, who allegedly carried out the fake encounter in which Ishrat and three others were killed.
The alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat Police in 2003 captured the national imagination and stirred political controversy. Recently, there was speculation that the CBI has credible evidence against the Gujarat Chief Minister and Shah but the CBI chargesheet, which will be filed in the High Court on Thursday, will name no political figure.
Top CBI sources have confirmed to CNN-IBN that the chargesheet will focus on the encounter and not on a wider conspiracy.
Here are the chargeseheet details accessed by CNN-IBN:
- The chargesheet affirms that Ishrat and three others, who were allegedly LeT terrorists, were killed in cold blood in a staged encounter by the Gujarat Police.
- Ishrat was shot in the stomach. The others were also killed in a manner that confirms a fake encounter.
- The eight Gujarat police officers involved in the encounter will be charged with murder. Two of the police officers are already in jail.
- The officers include Gujarat ATS DIG DG Vanzara, DCP NK Amin and Ahmedabad Crime Branch officers GL Singhal, Tarun Barot, JG Parmar, Bharat Patel and Anaju Chaudhary.
The CBI has reportedly claimed that the evidence against Modi and Shah is not enough to name them in the case.
One of the evidence, which has been cited, is an alleged conversation between Vanzara and the IB Special Director where the former reportedly claims that 'white dadhi' (allegedly Modi) and 'black dadhi' (allegedly Shah) have been kept informed and have approved the operation.
Singhal claims to be an eyewitness to Vanzara and Rajendra's conversation. His statement was recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC and makes him a potential witness in the case.
But when asked about Singhal's statement, a CBI officer told CNN-IBN that it is not enough to prove that Modi and Shah were involved in the encounter.
He added that a statement of an accused under Section 164 cannot be used by the CBI to name or chargesheet anyone. He said the CBI will place it before the court and seek more time to investigate the wider conspireacy.
Asked if there was any political pressure to name Modi, the officer said that the CBI knows there is a political angle to this case, but it is not being swayed either way. He said the CBI cannot charge someone without sufficient evidence.
The Congress is keen to use the Ishrat case to target Modi, who is being pitched as a potential prime minister candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. With several Gujarat police officers behind the bars and about 42 encounter cases, mainly involving Muslims, lodged in Gujarat, the state government is under the scanner.
But the BJP claims Modi has no hand in the Ishrat's encounter and alleges that the Congress is using the case to tag Modi as anti-Muslim.