Gujarat police officers have no faith in SIT

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Close on the heels of Sanjiv Sharma's affidavit against CM Narendra Modi of Gujarat in the Apex court, the cracks in Gujarat IPS officers have now surfaced, as 14 Gujarat police personnel have pleaded before Gujarat High Court that they do not have faith in investigations into the case by the Special Investigation Team headed by Satish Verma an IPS of Gujarat cadre. They want the probe either, by the CBI or police officer who does not belong to Gujarat police.

Many people blame the Narendra Modi government for this killing and strongly believe that Modi played a pivotal role in it. The Gujarat police have always been suspected of connivance with political entities that have religious and anti-Semitic characteristics. These suspicions were further strengthened when the accused, a 19 year old student Ishrat Jahan, (and the other three suspects) who were killed in a fake encounter, were said to have been kidnapped by the police according to the judicial probe by Judge SP Tamag.

The police in Mumbai have also admitted that the deceased had no connection to any terrorist group and were not involved in terrorist activities. According to media sources, the encounters were carried out by the police because of the lure of rewards from the Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

This dramatic development took place after Gujarat High Court handed over the investigations to Satish Verma. Verma a member of the SIT was given this charge because earlier SIT Chief Karnail Singh had been relieved of the job, because of his transfer to north east.

 Though, this is a temporary arrangement until the successor of Karnail Singh is appointed, the 14 cops allegedly involved in the case have asked the High Court to restrain him from taking any action till the new chief of SIT is appointed. Gujarat High Court had taken very serious view of the way the SIT investigations were being conducted and the role of Gujarat government in hampering the investigations.

 During the hearing last week the court had given full powers to Satish Verma while assigning the administrative role to the other SIT member Mohan Jha. The 14 police personnel fear that Satish Verma would arrest them.

Of these 14 officers, there are two officers who were transferred under Gujarat High Court orders.

 The Court had asked the government to transfer three officers, but the government had delayed it. On this issue, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) is facing contempt notice from the Court. G L Singhal and Tarun Barot have moved the High Court along with 12 others. The third officer who has been transferred under HC orders is ADGP P P Pande.

Police had claimed that they were operatives of Laskar-e-Taiba on a mission to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Investigations were handed over to Special Investigation Team (SIT).

However, The High Court appointed another SIT and these observations were made during the hearing of a case on the basis of the proceedings of the second SIT.High Court refused to entertain the urgent petition and now it will be taken up in regular course.

Ishrat Jahan, Javed alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were gunned down in 2004 by the personnel of the Detection of Crime Branch near Kotarpur Waterworks in Ahmedabad.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2011 on page no. 10

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