In a setback to the Gujarat government, the Supreme Court Friday
rejected its petition challenging the setting up of a Special
Investigating Team (SIT) by the state high court to investigate
the killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others in an alleged fake
Rejecting the Gujarat government's plea, an apex court bench of
Justice B.Sudarshan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar described the
case as "exceptional" and said "on facts, we will not interfere".
The Gujarat High Court, by its Sep 24, 2010 order, constituted a
SIT to investigate the killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others
June 15, 2004.
Other three who were gunned down were Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh
Pillai, Jishan Johar alias Abdul Gani and Amjad Ali alias Salim.
While the later two were said to be from Pakistan, Gujarat Police
claimed all four were Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives.
Appearing for the state government, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi
asked how the high court could appoint a SIT to investigate
shoot-out cases. Holding it was not correct for the high court to
appoint an SIT to investigate individual cases, he wondered in
what way the SIT constituted by the high court was better than the
one constituted by it Aug 13, 2009, which was later dissolved.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, also appearing for the Gujarat
government, said that a public suit by the People's Union for
Civil Liberties on shoot-out killings by Mumbai Police was pending
before the court.
The suit seeks to lay down the guidelines on investigations into
shoot-out killings. The apex court has already issued notice to
the central and the state governments on the lawsuit.
The Gujarat government contended that the high court erred in
dissolving the investigating team that was constituted by it Aug
13, 2009. The state government said that there was no allegation
of bias or prejudice against the dissolved team.
By its Aug 12, 2010 order, the high court transferred
investigation into Ishrat Jahan case to the apex court-appointed
SIT, headed by former CBI director R.K.Raghvan, which is probing
the Godhra and post Godhra riot cases.
Ishrat Jahan's mother Shamima Kausar moved the high court Sep 9
seeking a review of the Aug 12. It was on this plea that the court
Sep 24 passed an order constituting a new SIT.
A judicial probe by Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate S.P.Tamang
last year had said the killing of Ishrat Jahan and the three
others was "cold-blooded murder".
Amongst others, Tamang had named Gujarat Police's "encounter
specialist" and the then head of the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB),
D.G. Vanzara, as an accused.
Pakistani kids killed, stuffed into box
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