During a hearing at a special court on Saturday in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, the CBI told special judge J.K. Pandya that the time limit to sanction the prosecution of accused retired police officers in the case is not its hands.
The police officers accused in the case include D.G. Vanzara and N.K. Amin.
As the Indian Express reported, the CBI also repeated its stand on how it has sought permission from the government to move against the retire officers only after the special court ordered it.
“Our stand has been very clear since the beginning (of the trial) that there is no need to seek permission (from the Gujarat government) for the prosecution (of former police officers). We moved (a plea) before the state (government) only after this court ordered us to do so,” special public prosecutor R.C. Kodekar, appearing for the CBI, told judge Pandya.
According to the Indian Express, Kodekar, upon being asked by the judge how long the government would take to respond, he said the agency wouldn’t know as it would be decided by “higher-level officers”.
Vanzara’s lawyers also argued against the CBI’s submission and spoke of how the five years had lapsed since the CBI had filed a chargesheet against seven Gujarat policemen in 2013 for the 2004 encounter in which19-year-old Mumbai college girl Ishrat Jahan, her friend Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh and two alleged Pakistani nationals – Zeeshan Johar and Amjiali Rana – were killed just outside Ahmedabad.
The policemen chargesheeted include Vanzara, former DGP P.P. Pandey. IPS officers G.L. Singhal, N.K. Amin and Tarun Barot.
The lawyers argued that the CBI should have taken the permission even before filing the chargesheet: “There has to be some time limit to complete the procedure now. It has been five years since the chargesheet was filed.”
The court was then adjourned.
Published in arrangement with The Wire