In a major blow to absconding Additional Director General of Police P P Pandey, the Gujarat High Court on Monday dismissed his petition seeking quashing of a complaint against him in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.
Justice Harsha Devani dismissed Pandey's prayer, saying he an absconder despite being a top police officer of additional DGP rank, his plea should not be entertained.
The court also said a cognizable offence is made out in the FIR and adequate proof exists as three out of four accused persons were in prior custody of police.
The court also noted that since the CBI is in the last stage of filing the charge sheet the time is not appropriate for quashing the complaint.
Pandey, a 1982 batch IPS officer who was declared an absconder by the CBI court here on June 21, had claimed in his petition that he had merely passed on the intelligence inputs that two of the four people killed in the encounter were "terrorists" and planning to enter the city to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Countering Pandey's argument that his role in the case was limited to providing intelligence inputs, Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising had told the court that Pandey was the "mastermind" behind the killing of four people, including Ishrat.
"He is the mastermind behind the whole encounter. He was a conduit... He received inputs, passed it to his subordinates and arranged everything... In fact, he was in total control of the operation. He actually acted as Rambo," she had alleged.
The FIR, filed by the CBI, alleges that Pandey provided the "so-called crucial intelligence inputs" to his fellow officers which said that Ishrat, a college student from Mumbra near Mumbai, and three others were LeT operatives and were on a mission to assassinate Modi.
Pandey, as Joint Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, was heading the Crime Branch when Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in the alleged encounter near here on June 15, 2004.
IB officer may challenge CBI action if named in charge sheet
Senior Intelligence Bureau officer Rajendra Kumar may challenge any possible move by CBI to name him in its charge sheet in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.
Official sources said the Home Ministry is understood to have advised Kumar, a special director in the IB, to challenge the possibility on the issue of not obtaining prior sanction from the Home Ministry to take action against him.
Sources said though Kumar may not be named in the first charge sheet to be filed by CBI on July 4, his name may come up in the next phase which will deal with the larger conspiracy of carrying out the fake encounter in which Ishrat and three others were killed in Gujarat nine years ago.
Kumar may ask the court to make the Home Ministry a party in his plea.
The sources said the Home Ministry was convinced that the CBI does not have enough evidence to prosecute Kumar in the alleged fake encounter case and it was unlikely to give sanction to CBI to prosecute the senior IPS officer.
However, the CBI has not sought the sanction from the Home Ministry, which is the cadre controlling authority of IPS officers.
The case pertains to killing of four people including 19-year-old Ishrat from Mumbra and the allegation is that the four were in detention of Gujarat Police before they were killed in a stage-managed encounter in 2004.
CBI was entrusted with the investigations of the case by the Gujarat High Court and the agency managed to get one of the accused as an approver in the case, who named Kumar, a 1979 batch IPS officer posted as Joint Director of Intelligence Bureau in Ahmedabad at that time.