The agency abides by the Gujarat High Court order

As directed by the Gujarat High Court, the CBI has taken over the investigation of the Ishrat Jahan “fake” encounter case.

A 10-member CBI team arrived here on Friday and held a meeting with the High Court-appointed Special Investigation Team headed by Bihar cadre IPS officer Rajiv Ranjan Verma. Two other members of the SIT, Mohan Jha and Satish Verma, both Gujarat cadre IPS officers, were present.

The CBI team is headed by IGP V.V. Laxminarayan. Under him the Mumbai team would investigate the case, CBI sources said. Last month, the High Court asked the CBI to hold a fresh investigation after the three-member SIT submitted a final report holding that the June 15, 2004 encounter by the Gujarat police as a “staged one” but expressed reluctance to probe the case further. The Mumbra (Mumbai)–based college girl Ishrat Jahan and three others, including Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, and two alleged Pakistani terrorists, were killed near Kotarpur on the outskirts of Ahmedabad early on June 15, 2004. The police had claimed that the four were Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives and were in the State to hunt for Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others to avenge 2002 communal riots.

The SIT however, found that Ishrat and three others were in police custody before June 15 and the time, date and place of their killings were different than what the police recorded in the encounter.

A fresh FIR filed by the SIT before the CBI in Delhi is learnt to have named more than 20 senior State police officers, including the then Ahmedabad Commissioner K.R. Kaushik, for alleged involvement in the encounter. Other police officers named, including “encounter-specialist” D.G. Vanzara, and Deputy Superintendent of Police Narendra Amin are already in jail in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

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