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Ishrat Jahan case: Gujarat cops Singhal, Barot, Chaudhary discharged
Gandhinagar, March 31, 2021
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Court here on Wednesday discharged three accused Gujarat police officials -- G.L. Singhal, Tarun Barot and Anaju Chaudhary -- in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case and also dropped the proceedings against them.
Special CBI judge Vipul Rawal on Wednesday allowed the discharge application by the three Gujarat police officials and discharged them from the offences under the IPC 341, 342, 343, 365, 368, 302 and 201 and under section 25 (1)(e) and 27 of Indian Arms Act.
They were released on personal bond of Rs 15,000 each.
The CBI special court dropped the proceedings against and discharged them from the case after the Gujarat government refused sanction to prosecute the three accused police officials -- IPS officer G L Singhal, retired DySP Tarun Barot and an assistant sub-inspector, Anaju Chaudhary.
These are the last three policemen who were facing prosecution for charges of murder, criminal conspiracy, abduction and illegal detention of the 19-year-old girl from Mumbra, near Mumbai, in Maharashtra.
Jahan and her companions Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana, were shot dead on June 15, 2004 on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in a police encounter.
CBI counsel R. C. Kodekar on Wednesday argued that the sanction refused by the Gujarat government is without application of mind and so the application of the accused should be dismissed.
The CBI Court believed the Gujarat Police story that "they had received information from Intelligence Bureau (IB) that four terrorists had entered Gujarat and in retaliation police fired resultantly killing them all. Therefore the Act was carried out by the police officers while carrying out their duties".
The court had also observed, "In the present case, the CBI has not filed any application seeking sanction for prosecution. When it has been established that the accused have acted while performing their official duties the CBI ought to have got sanction for prosecution."
On October 23, the court had rejected discharge applications filed by these three accused for want of prosecution sanction under Section 197 of the CrPC. Under this section, sanction is required for prosecuting government servants for anything done in the discharge of official duty.
The Ishrat Jahan encounter case indicted seven policemen in a sessions court. One of the accused and the complainant, J. G. Parmar, died during the pendency of the proceedings. A commando, Mohan Kalasava, died by the time CBI filed the charge sheet.
In 2019, retired DIG D. G. Vanzara and SP N. K. Amin were discharged from the case after the state government refused to accord prosecution sanction. Before that, the court had discharged former in-charge DGP P. P. Pandey in this case.
The Centre had refused to grant the permission for prosecution sanction in this case for four Intelligence Bureau officials including former special director, Rajinder Kumar.
Following this, the court had refused to accept the supplementary charge sheet filed against them citing absence of the sanction. Revision applications for accepting the charge sheet and committal of a case were also refused.