Ahmedabad: A special CBI court today rejected the investigating agency's application seeking further custodial interrogation of suspended IPS officer P P Pandey, an accused in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate H S Khutwad refused to grant the CBI's plea seeking extension of Pandey's remand by seven days and instead sent him to Sabarmati Central Jail under judicial custody till 27 August. The court held that the grounds submitted by CBI seeking further remand of the accused were not sufficient to grant its request.
"The investigation of the case can be proceeded further without the presence of this accused (Pandey) and hence this application is being rejected," the court said.
The court had on 17 August remanded the suspended Additional DGP (crime) in CBI custody till today after partially accepting the agency's prayer for 14 days' custody. CBI sought extension of Pandey's custody, saying he did not cooperate with investigators and maintained silence over every question posed to him.
Countering CBI's argument, Pandey's counsel Ajay Choksi said the application submitted by the agency before the court is nothing but the "copy and paste" of the application it had filed in the court.
"Today's application is nothing but the copy and paste of previous application when CBI had sought 14 days' remand of my client. They don't have any new ground to seek further remand," he said.
Choksi argued that CBI could have filed an application if Pandey was not cooperating in the investigations. "Why CBI did not submit any application before this court telling that Pandey is not cooperating and no case diary has been placed by the agency before the court," he asked.
After the Supreme Court refused him anticipatory bail, Pandey surrendered before the CBI court here on 13 August and was remanded in judicial custody. He was the Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) in Ahmedabad when Mumbai-based Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Rana and Johar were gunned down by Crime Branch sleuths on 15 June, 2004 allegedly in the encounter.
CBI, in its charge sheet filed before the special CBI court here, had termed the encounter as fake and a joint operation undertaken by Gujarat Police and Intelligence Bureau.