Human Rights

Gujarat cops stunned by Satish Verma as SIT chief

Ahmadabad: There is a new twist in the enquiry episode of Ishrat Jahan’s encounter case. After Gujarat High Court’s order to replace the SIT chairman Karnail Singh by Satish Verma Gujarat police seems to have been paralysed by shock. 14 officers have approached the court to either shunt Satish Verman or to hand over the probe to that very CBI which they had been strongly opposing in the past.

It may be recalled that when the newly constituted SIT under Karnail Singh began the probe, Satish Verma I.P.S. one of its member on 27 May 2010 claimed that the probe was getting derailed inspite of sufficient evidence establishing the fact that it was a fake encounter. He made this allegation in an affidavit submitted to Gujarat High Court. The dispute between the members became public when Karnail Singh’s demand on amicus curiae was opposed by Satish Verma. High Court’s decision to relieve Karnail Singh and appoint Satish Verma as the new chief has sent shock waves among the police officers of the state.

14 officers involved in the encounter i.e. G.L. Singhal, Tarun Barot and others demanded, in a petition to the High Court, that the matter be handed over to CBI. Application filed on their behalf by advocate Mitesh Amin pointed out that Satish Verma’s affidavit was based on false facts. Hence after assuming full control on proceedings Verma was likely to misuse his powers and would implicate them. They had no faith in Satish Verma’s fairness. The applicants further argued that constable Moti Talji Desai had also approached the court in this case. The petitioners desired that their applications should be included in the hearing list and review its order which empowers Satish Verma to conduct the inquiry from 21 May 2011.

They appealed to the High Court that the enquiry pertaining to the first FIR filed by DCB be transferred to the CBI and if that was not possible then a new SIT be constituted with IPS officers posted out of Gujarat. When the petition was brought before the Chief Justice he directed its senior Justice Jahant Patel Justice Patel did not consider the petition observing that as long as the chief justice did not issue an order and the petition is not properly listed for hearing there could be no consideration in the matter. These 14 officers are among the 21 persons listed in the DCB filed F.I.R. It is quite interesting to note that these officers are not afraid of the CBI but are scared by one single person – Satish Verma
Satish Verma’s SIT issued summons to 12 officers which include DSP Tarun Barot, GL Singhal, PP Pande and KR Kaushik. It may be recalled that Barot and Singhal had reported in March before the SIT. It is learnt that after issue of summons the 12 summoned officers have proceeded on leave. They fear that Verma would pounce on them any moment and hence they have gone underground.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 June 2011 on page no. 11

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