The Special Investigation Team (SIT), appointed by the Gujarat High Court to probe the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, on Friday submitted its interim report and sought more time to complete the job.
The SIT said it had tried to secure records of phone calls made between June 1 and 20, 2004 among all the police officials involved in the alleged fake encounter, as well as those of the victims. But being six-year-old information, no record was available with the telephone or mobile companies concerned.
The SIT, under Additional Director-General of Police Pramod Kumar, was formed by the court by an August 13, 2009 order for a fresh investigation into the encounter death of Ishrat, Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, and two Pakistani nationals on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 16, 2004. The order was issued on a petition filed by Ishrat's mother Shamima Kausar, who has now filed another petition demanding that the probe be handed over to the CBI.
The SIT was asked to submit its final report by November 30 last, but it said it could not complete its task because of new and additional factors.
In its interim report, the SIT said it had taken possession of all relevant papers and documents on the encounter and also of logbooks indicating the movements of all vehicles of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch police between June 11 and 16, 2004.
Checking of the logbooks was pending.
The SIT said efforts were on to collect all wireless messages and intelligence inputs received by the Ahmedabad police control room and the State CID department. But it was not able to make much headway in collecting information on the movements of the private car, in which Ishrat and the others had been travelling.
After the court asked it to enquire about the movements of the car, the SIT checked at petrol pumps, toll plazas and other relevant places between Mumbra and Pune, Pune and Nashik, and Nashik and Nadiad via Shirdi, and recorded the statements of 63 people. But the issue being six-year-old, no one could provide details. “Efforts are, however, still on.”
On October 25 last, the SIT inserted advertisements in local newspapers, asking people to share with it any information they might have on the encounter but not a single response was received.
The weapons allegedly used in the encounter — but which were not deposited for inquiry then — were taken possession of and sent for testing at the Forensic Science Laboratory on November 23 last.
The FSL report was received but the SIT was yet to probe the contents.
The SIT recorded the statements of Ms. Kausar and Javed's father Gopinath Pillai. But a subsequent order from the High Court, asking it to probe the report of Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate S.P. Tamang — who held the encounter fake — added a new dimension to the investigation. As a result of this, the SIT could not complete its task, the interim report said.