Karela Fry

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Kidnap and murder by the police?

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Sep 8, 2010

IE states the circumstances of the investigation:

Less than a month after the Gujarat High Court formed a three-member committee under an Additional Director General of Police to probe the 2004 killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others in an encounter by Gujarat police, a magisterial report into the incident has claimed that the four were gunned down in cold blood, allegedly by police officers eager to get promotions and the appreciation of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The 240-page report by metropolitan magistrate S P Tamang was released to the media today by advocate Mukul Sinha who is appearing on behalf of Ishrat’s mother Shamima in the Gujarat High Court. It was on Shamima’s petition that Justice Kalpesh Jhaveri on August 13 formed a committee under ADGP Pramod Kumar and sought a report on or before November 30.

The Telegraph reports:

The metropolitan magistrate’s report says Ishrat was “illegally” picked up by Gujarat police on June 12, 2004, from Mumbai along with her friend Javed alias Pranesh. They were brought to Ahmedabad where they were killed on the night of June 14. The “encounter” was shown to have occurred on June 15.

“Ishrat Jahan was killed by Gujarat police in a cold-blooded, pre-planned way…. The police crime branch officials carried out the fake encounter for their personal gains, for promotions and other benefits. They wanted to show they were doing a great job, essentially to seek appreciation from the chief minister,” says the 243-page report written in Gujarati. The investigation was started in 2004.

The Hindu elaborates:

Mr Tamang’s report said the Crime Branch police “kidnapped” Ishrat and three others from Mumbai on June 12 and brought them to Ahmedabad. The four were killed on the night of June 14 in police custody, but the police claimed that an “encounter” took place on the morning of June 15 near Kotarpur water works on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The rigor mortis that had set in clearly indicated that Ishrat died between 11 p.m. and 12 midnight the previous night and the police apparently pumped bullets into her body to substantiate the encounter theory.

It said the explosives, rifles, and other weapons allegedly found in their car were all “planted” by the police after the encounter.

The police had then claimed that Ishrat, a resident of Mumbra near Mumbai, and three others — Javed Sheikh, a convert son of Gopinath Pillai of Kerala and two Pakistani citizens Amzad Ali Rana and Jishan Jauhar — were connected with Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and were coming to Gujarat to assassinate Mr. Modi to avenge the 2002 communal riots.

Claiming that Ishrat and three others were killed in fake encounter by the police officers for their personal interests, get promotions and gain appreciations from the Chief Minister, Mr Tamang appended a list of top police officers running into about two pages who he held responsible for the fake encounter. Besides Mr Vanzara and his then deputy in the Crime Branch police, N. K. Amin, who along with Mr Vanzara was also arrested in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, the list includes the then Ahmedabad police commissioner, K. R. Kaushik, the then chief of the Crime Branch, P. P. Pandey, another alleged encounter specialist Tarun Barot and a host of other senior police officers.

TOI adds:

It claims that IPS officer DG Vanzara’s men killed Javed between 8.30pm and 9pm on June 14, then killed the ‘Pakistanis’ Jisan Johar and Amjadali Rana. Finally, Ishrat was killed that night, between 11pm and midnight, because ‘‘she was witness to the killings’’. Vanzara told the media the next morning that the four were killed after a dramatic police chase around 4.30am on June 15.

The report says after the three men were killed, Ishrat was forcibly positioned in the front seat of the car and shot from close range. A pistol was then placed in her hand. The police then put her college identity card around her neck and her purse was put in the boot of the car. It also declares that Johar and Rana were Indians.

September 8, Evening

HardNews reports:

Meanwhile, the Gujarat government soon called the report “bad in law” and decided to challenge Tamang’s report in court. Gujarat government spokesperson and cabinet minister, Jay Narayan Vyas, told reporters that the CrPc codes used in this case are not acceptable. Vyas repeatedly said that he wondered how a district magistrate proceeded with an enquiry when an upper court, the Gujarat High Court, had already ordered a high-level police investigation. The coincidence is that both the courts ordered a similar probe on Aug 13, 2009 and Tamang had a November 30, 2009 deadline.

September 9

Hindu reports:

The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday granted a stay on the report of the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate, S.P. Tamang, … A Division Bench, comprising Justices Kalpesh Jhaveri and Z.K. Sayed, also directed the Registrar-General to institute a departmental inquiry into the conduct of Mr. Tamang in holding a parallel inquiry , when the High Court was already seized of the matter, and submitting the report without its permission.

The High Court, however, allowed the report to be submitted before the three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the top police officers appointed by it, to take a fresh look at the encounter episode. The SIT would be required to act on the report “on merit.”

September 30

Reported by HT:

Centre today filed a fresh affidavit in the Gujarat High Court in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, saying it never justified the action of Gujarat Police and had no objection to an independent inquiry in the case.

“The Central Government was not concerned with the merits of the action taken by the Gujarat Police and anything stated in the (earlier) affidavit was not intended to support or justify the action of the State police,” the fresh affidavit filed in the High Court today said.

“If, on a proper consideration of the facts it is found that an independent inquiry and investigation has to be
carried out, the Union of India would have no objection to this and would abide by the decision of the Court,” the affidavit filed by Under Secretary, Internal Security-VI in the Ministry of Home Affairs, R V S Mani said.

After Magistrate Tamang’s report, Gujarat government quoting an earlier affidavit filed by the Centre in the High Court, had tried to justify the encounter by saying that as per Centre’s affidavit Ishrat and three others were linked to Laskar-e-Toiba terror outfit.

Oct 6

IE reports:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Gujarat government and the Centre in the wake of urgent intervention sought by Shamima Kausar in the Ishrat Jahan case.

The bench of justices B N Agrawal and Aftab Alam sought a reply within four weeks on the appeal moved by Kausar, who had challenged the Gujarat High Court’s order of staying a judicial probe report which had described the incident as a “cold blooded” murder.

In her plea, Kausar has also sought vacation of the Gujarat HC order granting stay on the report of Judicial Magistrate S P Tamang. She has contended that the High Court had wrongly entertained the petition of the Gujarat government in the pending matter in which Kausar had sought to transfer the investigation of the case to the CBI.

Ishrat’s family contended that the Tamang report could not be stayed as the Magistrate had conducted the inquiry on the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Ahmedabad.

They have also sought summoning of the records of the Tamang report to the apex court.

The Gujarat High Court had on September 9 stayed Tamang’s report on a plea by the Narendra Modi government, which contended that the observations made in the report were beyond the jurisdiction of the magistrate.

A single judge bench of Justice Kalpesh Jhaveri, while staying the report, had also ordered the appropriate authority of the High Court to look into the actions of Tamang and take necessary steps.

March 11, 2011

IE reports that the Gujarat High Court’s investigative team has seized evidence of possible tampering of forensics in the killing of Ishrat Jahan by the Gujarat police:

Forensic experts from New Delhi are likely to come here and scrutinise a hard disk, a few documents and photographs recently seized by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) from the Gandhinagar-based Forensic Sciences Laboratory (FSL) in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.

On March 3, SIT officers led by member Satish Verma visited the Gandhinagar FSL and confiscated a computer hard disk, some photographs and other documents related to the case following suspicions that some of these could have been doctored by Gandhinagar FSL officials. Joint Commissioner of Police Mohan Jha, who is also one of the three members of the SIT, had even ordered a probe into the “raid” after FSL officials complained that the evidence was taken away forcibly.

SIT chief Karnail Singh is also coming from Delhi along with forensic experts from the national capital to examine the seized evidence at the SIT office in Ahmedabad in the presence of all three SIT members. “Singh is also bringing along Delhi FSL experts, which has met with objection from a few officers here,” said an officer involved in the probe.

The Hindu elaborates:

It was not clear whether the laboratory was under instruction to “hide” the crucial photographs since the encounter on June 15, 2004, but the angry officials filed a complaint with the police against Mr. Verma and his Deputy, Assistant Commissioner of Police V.R. Tolia, for alleged “unauthorised” entry on the laboratory premises. It, however, could not justify its complaint of “loot” against the raiding police officers as Mr. Verma and his team handed over due receipt for the articles they had taken from the FSL laboratory to help them in the investigation.

According to the sources close to Mr. Verma, the two officers, while scanning the hard disk, found some photographs and other evidences which had not been handed over to the investigating teams. Some photographs showed Ishrat and three others killed in the encounter with bullet marks on their back, which could bust the claims of the then Anti-Terrorist Squad of the police headed by the former DIG, D.G. Vanzara, that the “terrorists” who had “come to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi” were killed in an “exchange of fire.” The team also took away some other documents, including some crime scene data, ballistic data and compact discs from the laboratory.


3 Responses

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  1. […] a society where the police routinely murders suspects, to public approval, this does not sound too bad. The report’s satisfied tone also sounds […]

  2. […] For a recent time-line of the slow case, see here. […]

  3. […] For a recent time-line of the slow case, see here. […]

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