Gujarat High Court on Friday expressed satisfaction about the progress made by CBI in the investigation of Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, and ordered it to submit the next progress report by May 9.

CBI, ordered by the HC to take over the probe in December 2011, on Thursday submitted a progress report in a sealed cover.

On Friday, the division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari said the pace and direction of the probe were satisfactory. “It looks like in past two months CBI has made a substantial progress,” the judges said.

At the last hearing in January, when CBI submitted its first report, the court wasn’t much happy and decided to monitor the probe.

Subsequently, CBI arrested four Gujarat police officers: IPS officer Girish Singhal, deputy superintendent of police Tarun Barot, inspector Bharat Patel and retired deputy superintendent of police J.G. Parmar.

Ishrat Jahan, who hailed from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjadali Rana were killed by the Gujarat police in an encounter on June 15, 2004 on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

During the hearing, the state government’s lawyer raised the issue of sending back Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Satish Verma, who had been asked by the HC to join the CBI probe despite the state government’s objection.

Mr. Verma was a part of the Special Investigation Team constituted by the HC in this case; he was the first to say in his report that Ishrat and others were killed in a fake encounter.

“We need him urgently as he is one of the senior and experienced officer of the state police,” Government Pleader Prakash Jani said. Mr. Verma could be sent back to state service as CBI had now made a substantial progress in probe, he said.

“As per this court’s order dated January 11, 2013, Mr. Verma’s services for this case were allowed only for three months,” he said.

But the bench, while rejecting CBI’s request for continuing Mr. Verma’s deputation for four months, said he can continue to assist CBI till April-end, and by then CBI should get done whatever it wanted him to do for the probe.

“From May 1, 2013 Satish Verma should return to the state government,” the HC said, fixing the next hearing on May 10.