Pakistan-American terrorist David Coleman Headley may now have said that young Mumbai women Ishrat Jahan was an LeT operative. But the Gujarat government did not wait for his claim before reinstating the police officers accused of killing the 19-year-old and three others in an alleged 2004 shootout.
It reinstated in decent positions all the senior suspended police officials involved in this and two other alleged staged killings. This was within days of Narendra Modi taking over as prime minister and BJP leader Anandiben Patel stepping into his shoes as the chief minister in May 2014.
The police officials, including Deputy Inspector General D.G. Vanzara, who has since retired, are undergoing trials in special courts of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Vanzara, who has been barred from entering Gujarat, told a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday that his team's "finding" that Ishrat was a terrorist was vindicated by Headley's deposition.
Three inquiry reports stated that Ishrat Jahan's to be a fake encounter. The most stinging denunciation came from the CBI.
The central agency's two chargesheets go into minute details of how seven Gujarat Police and four Intelligence Bureau officials plotted the conspiracy, kidnapped and then held the girl and three others in confinement, planted weapons on them, and eventually killed them in cold blood on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
One of the chargesheets was so voluminous that CBI officials could not bring it to the court room while filing it. They told the crowded open court in the presence of journalists that the bulky chargesheet had to be deposited in the record room.
The policemen who led the so-called killer team were led by Ahmedabad Crime Branch's Vanzara, whose name also figures in two other fake shootouts. The Intelligence Bureau team was led by Special Director Rajinder Kumar, now retired, who also figures in another alleged fake shootout.
Besides Vanzara, the other police officials are Additional Director General P.P. Pandey and Superintendents N.K. Amin, G.L. Singhal, J.G. Parmar and Tarun Barot. Besides, the name of a police commando, Anaju Chaudhary (who died later), also figured in the CBI chargesheet.
The Intelligence Bureau officials included Assistant Director M.K. Sinha, Deputy Superintendent Rajeev Wankhede and P. Mittal, who allegedly facilitated the killings by generating fake intelligence inputs as well as by remaining present at the crime scene.
The two other sensational shootouts were the triple murder of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kauserbi and accomplice Tulsiram Prajapati. The three were killed separately in 2005 and 2006. Sadiq Jamal Mehtar was killed in another such "encounter" in January 2003.
The name of Gujarat's former minister of state for home and now BJP president Amit Shah had figured in the investigations in all three alleged extrajudicial killings. He also went to jail in the Sohrabuddin case and resigned from his post.
Going by the Gujarat Police officials involved in all the alleged fake shootouts, the terrorists had come to assassinate then chief minister Narendra Modi to avenge the 2002 riots.