Order comes after Gujarat government opposed CBI plea to spare him for 6 months

The Gujarat High Court on Friday directed the State government to spare senior IPS officer Satish Verma for four months to assist the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the inquiry into the Ishrat Jahan ‘fake encounter’ case.

The directive came after the State government opposed the CBI’s plea for sparing Mr. Verma for at least six months to help it in the investigation.

Mr. Verma was a member of the first Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the police and had covered considerable ground in the investigation into the ‘encounter’ of June 2004, in which three others were killed along with the Mumbai-based college girl on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

The Gujarat police had claimed that Ishrat Jahan and others were Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives and were on a mission to assassinate Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders.

After preliminary investigations ordered by the Gujarat High Court, Mr. Verma had come to the conclusion that the encounter was a fake one and Ishrat and others were killed by the police in cold blood at a place and time different from what the police had shown.

Following Mr. Verma’s investigations, more than a dozen senior police officers, apprehending immediate arrest, petitioned the High Court to shift the investigation to the CBI. The State government also launched an investigation against Mr. Verma, reopening a 17-year-old case in which he was alleged to have allowed a prime accused in an RDX landing case to escape when he was the Porbandar Police Superintendent in 1995.

On a petition filed by Mr. Verma alleging harassment by the State government for his stand on the Ishrat Jahan case, the State government informed the High Court that it had dropped the investigation into the old case till further orders.