As it happened: Ishrat Jahan murdered in cold blood, says CBI chargesheet

Tracking the latest developments on the CBI chargesheet on the Ishrat Jahan case.

Arun George July 03, 2013 22:23:36 IST
As it happened: Ishrat Jahan murdered in cold blood, says CBI chargesheet

8.31 pm: Modi will be exposed soon, says Congress

With CBI holding as "fake" the 2004 encounter of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat, Congress on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Narendra Modi saying "truth speaks for itself from the rooftop" and claimed that the chief minister's role in such encounters will also be exposed.

"He (Modi) will also be exposed some time. Truth comes out at one point or the other. Truth speaks for itself from the rooftop. Someday, you will come to know of the real face of the Gujarat Chief Minister," AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistri told reporters.

7.45pm: Ishrat is innocent, she was kidnapped, murdered: Nusrat

Staunchly denying that her sister Ishrat Jahan was in any way related with Lashkar-e-Taiba, her sister Nusrat Jahan told CNN-IBN, "Ishrat was not a terrorist. How can a college going girl who is busy in her studies can be called a terrorist? Even her principal said that she was a regular student. She was innocent."

Nusrat said all that her family wants is that Ishrat be freed from the terrorist tag.

"Today the law established that Ishrat was kidnapped and murdered. The CBI will eventually prove that Ishrat was not a terrorist. We do not have any political grudge against anyone," she said.

Ishrat's uncle, who also spoke to CNN-IBN, said, "All we want to know is why she was murdered and who did it. The Intelligence Bureau updates are normally passed on to a chief minister within 24 hours. I wonder how will the chief minister will be unaware about it if the information about so-called terrorists was passed on to the state government by the IB."

6:40 pm: Ishrat's mother says they are happy with proof of her innocence

The petitioner in the case and mother of Ishrat Jahan, Shamim Kauser, has said they were pleased with the investigating agency's charge sheet that indicts Gujarat police officials.

"My daughter is innocent," she said, adding that they wanted the most stringent punishment for those guilty.

"I have been saying for 9 years that my daughter is innocent and the court has proved me correct today," she said.

6:30 pm: Ishrat's sister says they are happy with charge sheet

"We are happy with the CBI's chargesheet because it states that she was not a terrorist," Musarat Jahan, sister of Ishrat Jahan told a press conference in Mumbai.

"We are unhappy that those who had killed that they have not faced justice yet," she said.

Musarat said that her brother hadn't been able to get a job on account of their sister being called a terrorist and said they wanted the most harshest punishment for those responsible.

"We have been fighting the batter for nine years and we just want the death penalty who ever is responsible for her killing," she said.

18:15 pm: BJP says even PM would have known about IB inputs on Ishrat Jahan

"The CBI is silent after a protracted investigation in the matter on the background and activities in which these people were involved," BJP spokespersons Nirmala Sitharaman said.

"After this investigation if CBI can't describe who these people are, it clearly gives the picture that the CBI chargesheet underplays the role of the LeT (Tashkar-e-Taiba) and indicts the Indian security establishment, demoralising them in the process," she said.

The BJP spokesperson claimed that the government had been advising the CBI and the investigating agency may have been confused as a result.

"This encounter happened in 2004 by which time the union government was under the Congress-led UPA. And therefore the IB was reporting to them," she said.

Such is the nature of functioning of IB that at least once a week, the inputs shared with states are shared with the PM himself, she said.

The BJP spokesperson said that the official inputs from the IB would have been shared with the Prime Minister as well.

"Can we hear from the Union government since the CBI has indicted the central government, through the IB, and state police," she said.

5:50 pm CBI counsel says role of three IB officials still being probed

Legal counsel for the CBI, SK Saiyaad said that the investigating agency has said that Ishrat Jahan and her male companion Javed were taken into confinement illegally by Intelligence Bureau officials and after interrogation were killed.

"Intelligence Bureau officials Rajeev Wankhede and MK Sinha had abducted them and kept them in confinement," Saiyaad said.

Another senior IB official Rajender Kumar and other accused Gujarat Police officials then went to the location where they were kept, interrogated them and then killed them, he said.

Among the sections under which the accused in the case have been charged include criminal conspiracy, illegal confinement and other sections, Saiyaad said.

"CBI has said that its investigating three more Intelligence Bureau officials: Rajeev Wankhede, MK Sinha and Rajender Kumar," he said.

They are carying out further investigations in the case, the lawyer said.

The investigating agency had not gone into the detail whether the 19-year-old and the three others were involved in terrorism, Saiyaad said.

"Terror links have not been dealt with, since the CBI said that it had no such mandate," he said.

He also said that it was a case of murder since illegal confinement and abduction were carried out by officials before killing the four individuals.

17:35 pm: Ishrat's relative says they are happy its been proven she isn't a terrorist

Rauf Lala, a relative of the slain Ishrat Jahan, told CNN-IBN said they believed that only half the truth had been revealed in the CBI's chargesheet.

"We are very happy that the charge sheet says that Ishrat was not a terrorist," he said.

"We will be happy only when all those involved in the killing of Ishrat are brought to justice," he said.

17:30 pm: IB officer not off the hook?

Intelligence Bureau special director Rajender Kumar's name has found no mention in the charge sheet, despite the fact that he has been interrogated by the CBI.

However, the mention of the fact that the arms used in the shooting were taken from the Intelligence Bureau may hint at the fact the further trouble awaits the senior official, reported CNN-IBN. 

The Home Ministry may find it more difficult to defend the senior intelligence official in light that not only the intelligence input but even the weapons provided were from the agency, the channel reported.

17: 15 pm: Lawyer representing Ishrat Jahan's mother says they will move court

The lawyer representing Ishrat Jahan's mother said that they will move court to seek action against all those involved in the court.

"Truth has become the victim of politics," Mukul Sinha told CNN-IBN. 

He said that they would make sure that those involved and those the CBI has named in the first chargesheet are brought to justice.

He claimed that a division was being made not only between the political and police class, but also within the hierarchy of the police.

"Not just police class but subordinate police class- a division is being made," Sinha said.

"Criminal justice system is completely subverted by BJP...This is the manner in which political pressure is brought on agencies," he said.

4.54 pm: CBI files first chargesheet

The CBI has filed the first chargesheet in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. It was filed before the Additional Judicial Magistrate in Ahmadabad.

The chargesheet declares that 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan was not a terrorist but three others who were killed with her had terror links and were using her as a cover to further their goals. It does not mention Narendra Modi or Amit Shah.

It says that Ishrat and three others killed were kept in illegal confinement before the encounter. The CBI says that it has evidence to prove that the encounter was fake.

The CBI says in the chargesheet that it has evidence to prove that Ishrat and the others were drugged before being killed.  Cops were deployed across Ahmadabad to cover up the encounter, reported CNN-IBN.

The chargesheet states that Gujarat IPS officer DG Vanzara and others picked up weapons from the Intelligence Bureau which were later planted on Ishrat and the others' bodies after they were killed.

However, the chargesheet does not mention whether Ishrat and the others in who died in the encounter were terrorists.

The CBI also has asked the court for more time to investigate IB officer Rajender Kumar's role in the encounter.

Ishrat Jahan's mother's lawyer Mukul Sinha said that the CBI has not taken action against Gujarat's top police officials.

3. oo pm: Who were those killed in the alleged fake encounter?

Ishrat Jahan: A college girl from Mumbra, Maharashtra, belonged to a lower middle class family. Second of seven siblings, Ishrat was the breadwinner of the family after her father's death in 2002.

Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh: A Mumbai-based petty criminal involved in counterfeit currency and smuggling, he was friends with Ishrat.

Amjad Ali Rana: Allegedly a Pakistani national but there's no documentary evidence to prove it. His identity remains a mystery.

Zeeshan Johar: Allegedly a Pakistani national but no one claimed his and Amjad Ali's bodies after they were killed. Zeeshan was allegedly handed over to Gujarat police by IB officials before the encounter.

2.30 am: CBI chargesheet to clear Ishrat Jahan, will not name Modi

According to reports in the media, the chargesheet to be filed by CBI today in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case names neither Modi nor his aide Amit Shah in its list of suspects. It also declares that 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan was not a terrorist but three others who were killed with her had terror links and were using her as a cover to further their goals.

As it happened Ishrat Jahan murdered in cold blood says CBI chargesheet

Screengrab from CNN-IBN

According to a report on The Times of India, the CBI chargesheet says that the three men killed along with Ishrat were in touch with Muzammil, a Lashkar-e-Taiba handler. While they were possibly planning a terror attack on Ahmedabad, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was not their target.

The chargesheet also reportedly mentions that the wounds from which they died confirm the occurrence of a fake encounter. All of them including Ishrat were shot in the stomach, indicating the fact that they were not running away or being chased by the police when they were shot.

CNN IBN reports:

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 there is insufficient evidence against Modi and Shah to name them in the case.

The investigating agency, reportedly has evidence  however, that IB joint director Rajinder Kumar was involved in the case.

The encounter took place in the Kotarpur fireworks factory and a brawl between the crime branch officials preceded the killings. Apparently, one officer and a commando refused to participate and shoot the victims. Following this, two other officers snatched their weapons and shot Ishrat and the men in her company.

Background: What to look for in the CBI chargesheet:

For everyone concerned—the families of the deceased; the police officers who will now be charged with their murder; intelligence services facing potentially the greatest scandal since independence; politicians aware that the fallout could shape their fortunes in 2014—the stakes are huge.

Exhale.

First, this is a first charge-sheet; it’s unlikely to address questions of the background and possible terrorist activities of the accused or the possible conspiracy behind their execution.

Then, beware the early sound bites: it’ll take a while for journalists and lawyers to wade through what the CBI has said. CBI charge sheets tend to cite dozens of witnesses, and often contain thousands of pages of supporting documents. In keeping with the government’s commitment to transparency and efficiency, the CBI (and National Investigations Agency) doesn’t provide copies of its charge-sheets, even though they’re public documents. This means that journalists have to pester sources, or find some court tout they can pay Rs 100 to for a copy.

Finally, remember that evidence in a criminal case is almost always very complex. We know one thing for a fact: the CBI failed to file charges against the eight Gujarat Police officers it is now expected to allege carried out murder within then legally-mandated 90 days from their arrest. This entitled them to walk on bail.  There’s all sorts of potential reasons for the delay—perhaps the CBI was waiting on expert reports, or having trouble corroborating what a witness said—but the delay suggests the evidence is highly complex, and open to interpretation.

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