A special CBI court on Thursday discahrged retired IPS officers DG Vanzara and NK Amin of all the charges in the Ishrat Jahan 'fake' encounter case. The court said that since the government refused to sanction their prosecution, the proceedings against them would be dropped. Under section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a public servant can’t be prosecuted for an act done as part of the official duty without the government's sanction.
Ishrat Jahan, along with Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed by the Gujarat Police in an alleged fake encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
The Gujarat police had claimed that they were terrorists and allegedly hatching a conspiracy to assassinate the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The CBI didn’t opposed the Gujarat government’s decision to decline sanction to prosecute them. However, Ishrat Jahan’s mother Shamima Kauser had opposed their application to discharge them in the case.
In a submission made through her lawyer Vrinda Grover, Kauser had earlier said that their pleas seeking dropping of proceedings were “untenable in law and unsustainable on facts” and that the state government was “not the appropriate authority” to refuse sanction to prosecute the two officers.
“It is a matter of record that it is the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and not the state of Gujarat, which is the appropriate sanctioning authority in the present case, she had said.
On August 7, 2018, the court had rejected the discharge applications of Vanzara and Amin, and also sought to know from the CBI whether the agency had requested the government for a sanction to prosecute them, so that the court could frame charges against them and start the trial.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the Gujarat High Court had later concluded that the encounter was fake, after which the HC had transferred the case to the CBI.
In the first charge-sheet filed by the investigative agency in 2013, seven Gujarat police officers, including IPS officers PP Pandey, Vanzara and GL Singhal, were named as accused. The court had later discharged Pandey.
(With inputs from PTI)