On Thursday last week, the Special CBI Court at Ahmedabad, discharged DG Vanzara and NK Amin, the former police officers in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
The proceedings against both the police officers in the case were dropped on the ground that the agency was not able to get the sanction from the State Government to prosecute them. Under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the sanction of the concerned government is necessary to prosecute a public servant for an act done as a part of official duty.
Vinod Gujjar, DG Vanzara’s lawyer, welcomed the decision and said that the Court’s order clearly establishes the genuineness of the encounter. Lawyer for Ishrat Jahan’s mother said that sanction was not required to prosecute the accused. In the written submissions filed by her, it was contended that the Union Home Ministry and not the state government is the appropriate sanctioning authority.
The encounter took place on June 15, 2004, when four persons including Ishrat Jahan, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai and two Pakistani nationals were shot dead by Gujarat Police. Gujarat Police asserted that the four-member group was a part of Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Toiba module on a mission to assassinate Narendra Modi, who was the then Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Former Gujarat Police chief P.P. Pandey, who had spent nearly 19 months in jail before being let out on bail, was discharged in this case last year.