The Gujarat government has questioned the inquiry report of Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate S.P. Tamang, holding “fake” the encounter, which led to the killing of Ishrat Jehan and three others on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in June 2004.
Claiming that the encounter of the four alleged Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives was carried out on the basis of information given by Central intelligence agencies, Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said the State government would challenge Mr. Tamang’s report in court.
Quoting from an affidavit filed in the Gujarat High Court by Under Secretary (Internal Security) in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs R.V.S. Mani, Mr. Vyas also questioned the metropolitan magistrate’s authority to hold the inquiry under Section 176 of the Cr.PC which he claimed was specifically meant for custodial deaths. Ishrat and the three others were killed in the encounter on the road and not in police custody. Therefore, the metropolitan magistrate had no jurisdiction to hold the inquiry, he said.
Pointing out that the High Court was already seized of the matter and had constituted a three-member special investigation team of top police officers for a fresh inquiry into the Ishrat encounter, Mr. Vyas said since the matter was sub judice, the metropolitan magistrate should not have made his inquiry report public.
Not given hearing
He said the principle of natural justice demanded that the accusedbe given a fair opportunity to present their side but Mr. Tamang had heard neither the accused police officials nor the State government.
It was intriguing that the entire investigation was completed and the report submitted in just 25 days after Mr. Tamang was asked by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to look into the matter on August 12.
The State government was also not supplied with a certified copy of the report, before it was “leaked” to the media and made public. The report, however, was not binding on it, Mr. Vyas said.