A special CBI court here on Thursday absolved controversial Gujarat police officers D.G. Vanzara and N.K. Amin of all charges in the sensational Ishrat Jahan encounter, after the Gujarat Government refused permission to prosecute them in the case.
Allowing a discharge petition of the officers, who are now retired, the court stated that it was not in a position to frame charges against them after the government’s refusal to sanction their prosecution.
The officers had filed an application in the court on March 26 submitting that all proceedings against them should be dropped since the Gujarat Government had declined their prosecution stating that they were doing their duty. According to Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a sanction of the government was mandatory to prosecute a public official.
Besides this, the key argument of the police officers was that there was no abduction of the people killed and that it was a genuine encounter and part of their official duty.
Earlier in August 2018, the court had rejected the discharge petitions of Vanzara and Amin after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenged it arguing that it had sufficient evidence to establish that Vanzara was the mastermind of the entire operation and Amin was present at the encounter site.
Thursday’s court order stated: “Discharge applications of D.G. Vanzara and N.K. Amin are hereby allowed and they’re discharged from offences punishable under IPC section 120B read with sections 341, 342, 343, 365, 368, 302 and 201, and sections 25(1)(e) and 27 of Indian Arms Act. Bail bond stands canceled and security bonds, if any deposited by the applicants accused are ordered to be refunded to them.”
Meanwhile, CBI’s lawyer R.C. Kodekar said a copy of the order of would be sent to the CBI headquarters to decide whether to move a higher court against the court ruling.
Senior counsel Vrinda Grower for Ishrat Jahan’s mother Shamima Kauser had opposed the discharge petition arguing that it was “untenable in law and unsustainable on facts” while the State Government had no authority to refuse the prosecution of the officials.
Mumbai girl Ishrat Jahan and Pranesh Pillai alias Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar, who were said to be Pakistani nationals, were killed near Kotarpur waterworks on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004, by the Ahmedabad City Detection of Crime Branch, then led by Vanzara. DCB had then claimed that the four were operatives of the Lashkar-e-Taiba out to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.