Ahmedabad: The CBI on Saturday opposed a plea by four Gujarat policemen seeking their discharge in the 2004 case of alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others on grounds of absence of state's sanction to prosecute them.
Gujarat's Inspector General of Police (IG) GL Singhal, retired deputy superintendents of police (DSP) Tarun Barot and JG Parmar, and State Reserve Police (SRP) commando Anaju Chaudhary have also sought their discharge on grounds of parity of their cases with those of discharged police officers DG Vanzara and NK Amin in the same case.
In their discharge pleas to the court of Special Judge PK Dave, the four policemen have also asserted that the government has not granted sanction to the CBI to prosecute them (under section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code).
The Central Bureau of Investigation, however, opposed the pleas of the four policemen, contending that the sanction for prosecution against the four was not needed under section 197 of the CrPC as the case pertains to serious offences including that of murder.
"The CBI has consistently maintained that there is no requirement of sanction for prosecution under section 197 of the CrPC in the cases where offences relate to criminal conspiracy of abduction, illegal confinement, murder, etc," the CBI said in its application to the court, opposing the four policemen's plea.
Under section 197 of the CrPC, the competent authority is required to grant sanction to prosecute public servants accused of offence alleged to have been committed while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of their official duty.
"It has been a consistent stand of the CBI during the filing of the chargesheet and during the discharge applications of the accused persons that the case does not warrant sanction for prosecution as envisaged under section 197 of the CrPC.
"The court (the special CBI court), however, in its order dated 7 August, 2018, said the sanction for prosecution is required against them (Vanzara and Amin). In view of the order of the court, the CBI approached the competent authority — the State of Gujarat — for sanction for prosecution. The competent authority declined sanction for prosecution against both of them," it said.
The CBI said Singhal, Barot, Parmar and Chaudhary cannot seek the discharge on grounds of parity with cases of Vanzara and Amin because "the role of each accused person is different and evidence available against each accused person is different".
The CBI, which was handed over the investigation of the case by the Gujarat High Court in December 2011, had filed a chargesheet against former in-charge DGP PP Pandey, the then IPS officers Vanzara and Singhal, Amin, Barot, Parmar and Chaudhary on 3 July, 2013.
They were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act.
The court had first rejected the discharge applications of Vanzara and Amin, after the CBI contended that their role in the alleged fake encounter was clear and greater than that of accused Pandey, who had been discharged earlier.
The CBI had then cited statements made by the police officials before it.
The court, however, later allowed pleas of Vanzara and Amin after the state government declined sanction to prosecute them.
Ishrat, a 19-year-old woman from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed by Gujarat police in an alleged fake encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on 15 June, 2004.
The police had claimed that they had links with terrorists.
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Updated Date: Sep 21, 2019 23:32:13 IST