Ahmedabad: In its first chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday said the 19-year-old girl along with three others - Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar - was killed in cold blood by the Gujarat Police on June 15, 2004.
The CBI also told a court in Ahmedabad that the agency has evidence to prove that the four were illegally detained and kept in confinement. It added that Ishrat and the three others were tranquilized before being killed.
The chargesheet, however, remained silent on whether the four were terrorists. The Gujarat Police had claimed that Ishrat and three others were a part of a Lashkar-e-Toiba module which was planning to assassinate state Chief Minister Narendra Modi. But the CBI made it clear that it has found no evidence which can establish that they had come to Gujarat to kill Modi.
The investigative agency named eight Gujarat police officers including absconding Additional DGP PP Pandey, suspended DIG DG Vanzara, suspended IPS officer GL Singhal charging them with criminal conspiracy, abduction, wrongful confinement and murder. "The encounter was a joint operation between Gujarat Police and Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) of the state," the CBI said in the chargesheet, adding "the encounter was fake".
The CBI said Vanzara and other Gujarat police officers collected weapons from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) office and then planted them on Ishrat and others. The chargesheet says on Vanzara's instructions, suspended Singhal went to the IB office on June 14 and collected a bag of weapons used in the encounter.
According to the CBI, IB officer Rajinder Kumar was heading state investigation bureau during the period when the encounter was carried out. But he has not been named in the chargesheet. Investigation is going on against four Intelligence Bureau officers, including its Special Director Rajendra Kumar, and three other officers - P Mittal, MK Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede, it said.
A supplementary chargesheet would be filed against IB officers once the investigation was over, the court was told by the CBI.
The investigative agency also told the court that Gujarat Police officers were deployed in different places in the name of nakabandi (pickets) in Ahmedabad to manage the encounter.
But the biggest relief has come for the Gujarat Chief Minister and his aide Amit Shah as the CBI has not named them in its chargesheet.
The CBI chargesheet also says that Kumar and Pandey interacted with Ishrat and Javed at Khodiyar farm a few days before the encounter which conclusively proves that she was abducted by Gujarat Police officers NK Amin and Tarun Barot from Vasad toll booth.
CBI's mandate in this case was to find out whether the encounter was fake or not. But while the CBI has concluded the encounter was fake, by not fixing any accountability on any other wing barring the police and IB, It has left enough room for politicians to continue to spar with each other.