Gandhinagar, Feb 25: The CBI has arrested one more police officer in connection with the 2004 alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others, officials of the agency said.
The CBI arrested police inspector, Special Operation Group (SOG), Gandhinagar, Bharat Patel in the case and he was produced on Sunday before the court, along with suspended DySP Tarun Barot, who was also arrested on Saturday.
Patel, who was the police sub-inspector with Crime Branch, Ahmedabad in 2004, was called by CBI for questioning at Gandhinagar office.
Metropolitan Magistrate A U Jujaru ordered them to be sent in CBI custody for 24 hours.
In his remand application, DySP CBI Special Crime Branch and the investigating officer of the case, G Kalaimani, prayed for 14-day custody.
“The accused persons are police officers who were present at the scene of crime and perpetrated the crime of conspiracy leading to murder and other offence,” said CBI lawyer Abhishek Arora.
The CBI has alleged that Patel brought Amjadali Akbarali Rana, who was murdered on June 15, 2004 along with Ishrat Jahan, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai and Zeeshan Johar, to the scene of crime and placed him blind-folded on the road divider where he was killed and an AK-56 assault rifle was shown near his right hand.
“Patel knows the source of AK-56 and its ammunition, this needs to be discovered in the interest of investigation,” Arora argued.
At the time of the alleged encounter, it was claimed by the police that four of those killed were a part of the conspiracy to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Opposing remand application, advocate Brijrajsinh Jhala, who argued for Patel, claimed that the arrest of his client was illegal as the CBI had violated the procedure defined in the CrPC.
He also claimed that Patel, who was then police sub-inspector in the Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, was never present at the scene of crime and his name was not even mentioned in the FIR filed by the CBI.
On behalf of Barot, who was allegedly present at the scene where Isharat and three others were killed, advocate D R Bhatt argued that in the past 15 months, no officer had called him for interrogation and suddenly he was arrested.
“In the past statements of Patel were recorded on 18-6-04, 5-11-09, 10-1-11 and 22-6-11 but since CBI registered the FIR in this case on September 15, 2012, no one had interrogated him,” said Bhatt.
When asked by the magistrate if they had any complaint while they were in custody of CBI, both Barot and Patel alleged “high handedness” and “mental torture” by IG Satish Verma, who is, under High Court orders, assisting CBI in the case.
Earlier, CBI had arrested Girish Singhal, Superintendent of Police with State Crime Records Bureau, and J G Parmar, retired DSP and the court, after rejecting their remand, had sent them in judicial custody.
Mumbra girl Ishrat Jahan, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjadali Rana were allegedly killed by the Gujarat police, led by D G Vanzara, who is also an accused in Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter cases.
After Ishrat's mother complained about the alleged fake encounter, Gujarat High Court constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT), which concluded that the encounter was fake.
Following the report, the High Court handed over the case to the CBI on December 1, 2011, and it is monitoring the investigations.