On June 15, 2004, Ishrat was gunned down along with three others at a deserted stretch of road just outside Ahmedabad. The cops involved in the encounter said she was part of a terror plot to kill Modi. A second year science student at Mumbai’s Guru Nanak Khalsa college, Ishrat was the second of seven siblings and – by her mother’s account – her father’s favorite.Chasing dreams of a better life, the family moved into the Muslim-dominated area of Mumbra in Mumbai when Ishrat was just five. Shamim, a construction worker, saw daughter Ishrat as the one who would make the family proud one day.But his death forced 17-year-old Ishrat to take up tuitions and embroidery work to support the family. Desperate for a job, Ishrat worked as a secretary to Javed Sheikh or Pranesh Pillai, who was killed in the same encounter.According to Ishrat’s family, Javed often took her out of town for work. The last time Ishrat spoke to her mother was from Nashik, where she had reportedly gone to meet Javed. Three days later, she was lying dead on a road in a striped orange salwar kurta, gunned down with three others.
Ishrat Jahan encounter case: CBI evidence against Narendra
Modi, Amit Shah ‘hearsay’
NEW DELHI: CBI, which is investigating the conspiracy behind the unlawful killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others has so far not come upon direct evidence pointing to involvement of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi or his former home minister Amit Shah. Instead, the evidence against the political leaders is “hearsay” in nature and inadequate to arrive at any conclusion, a top CBI official told ETon Friday.
But CBI strongly suspects there was indeed political sanction for the fake encounter and is actively searching for evidence to prove this, the top official said. A statement made by a Gujarat Police Officer DH Goswami — part of the annexure in the chargesheet — referring to a go-ahead for the encounter from the political leadership in Gujarat was “not enough” as prosecutable evidence, the CBI officer said.
The statement by Goswami says police officer DG Vanzara, an accused in the case, told him that he had orders from ‘political bosses’ to kill the four persons in a fake encounter.
Vanzara’s statement to Goswami came after the latter asked if the killings of Ishart and the others had political sanction. “This is secondhand information that Goswami had and it was moreover Vanzara’s claim who is an accused himself — it is hearsay statement at best,” the top CBI official said.
Goswami, who retired as a deputy SP, was named as an accused in the CBI FIR in this case but was not named as an accused in the chargesheet. CBI officials say that though his statement is attached in annexures of the chargesheet, it finds no mention in the chargesheet’s main body, which focuses only on the actual encounter.
Hearsay evidence refers to evidence of those who are relating something they have heard from others. Top CBI officials in Delhi are also extremely annoyed about certain officers of the Gujarat Police, who were privy to the CBI probe, who are allegedly leaking the details of the CBI witnesses and their statements to the media. “We have to proceed on a firm footing while exposing the larger conspiracy behind the fake encounter.
Flimsy evidence to prove the conspiracy or a political hand would not stand scrutiny in the court,” a CBI official said. He also clarified that CBI was not bothered about whether David Coleman Headley — the Lashkar-e-Taiba operative now in a US prison — had described Ishrat as a terrorist or not to the National Investigation Agency.
“Much of the controversy over Ishrat being a LeT cadre or not is borne out of politics…the CBI is steering clear of all such politics. The Gujarat high court had in fact earlier pulled us up for investigating into the credentials of the killed persons.
The court is clear that even a terrorist cannot be killed in cold blood,” the top CBI official said.
Five others ‘missing’, finds Ishrat Jahan probe
Will more skeletons tumble out of the cupboard related to the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case in which four persons were killed? For, investigation has revealed that at least five more people were connected to the deceased and they have all gone missing, said sources in the CBI.
The charge sheet, submitted by the CBI on Wednesday, has made a mention of two passive agents C1 and C2. They are OS and Arshad, according to CBI sources. A CBI source said they had tried their best to find them since their names were revealed in course of the investigation, but failed.
According to the charge sheet, both the agents had been engaged by Rajinder Kumar and GL Singhal apparently to manage the illegal custody of the deceased, Zeeshan Johar, who was confined in house number 164/165 of Gota Housing Society (then) on the outskirts of the city.
The CBI, however, also found that they were connected to Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, one of the four killed in the fake encounter. According to CBI sources, Javed, too, was an informer of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and working for Kumar, the special director of IB.
CBI had found that Amjad Ali, also killed in the encounter, was brought to Ahmedabad by Arshad, Javed and Ishrat, who, by default, had witnessed Amjad’s illegal confinement. A CBI source said both Javed and Ishrat were eliminated along with Ali while Arshad is missing.
Before filing the charge sheet, the CBI had questioned IPS officer Parikshita Rathod, the first investigating officer of the Ishrat case in the FIR filed at the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB). Rathod was questioned about her plan to take the custody of three alleged terrorists — Majid Hussain, Parvez Khan and Abdul Aziz Shah.
Despite the orders of the City Sessions Court, Rathod did not take the trio, who was in the custody of Jammu and Kashmir Police in June-July 2004, into custody.
(A copy of the confidential letter submitted to the court by Rathod is with dna).
Rathod had told the court in the letter dated May 9, 2005, that the J&K Police had refused to grant custody of the three without mentioning the reason for the refusal.
CBI sources said Rathod had cooked up a story before the court as the accused officers did not want their legal custody. Since then, these three have been missing, added sources. According to the first FIR in the Ishrat case filed with the DCB after the encounter, Hussain, Khan and Shah were mentioned as Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) agents working with Javed and Ishrat and based in Kashmir.