Gujarat High Court transfers Ishrat Jahan case to Supreme Court-appointed SIT

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Ahmedabad, Aug.12 (ANI): The Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected Ishrat Jahan's mother, Shamima Kausar's, plea to transfer the encounter-related case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Instead, it ordered the case to be transferred to a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director R K Raghavan.

The court had heared arguments for over one week.

Ishrat was gunned down by Gujarat police along with Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana and Jisan Johar Abdul Gani in Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.

The encounter was carried out by a team of Ahmedabad Crime Branch led by DIG D.G. Vanjara. The police alleged that all four were Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives involved in a plot to assassinate the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. This is a pattern that matches the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter.

Ishrat Jahan was a second year Bachelor of Science student at Mumbai's Guru Nanak Khalsa College.She was the second of seven siblings.

Her lower middle class family, hailing from Bihar, lived in the Rashid compound in the Muslim-dominated area of Mumbra in Thane district in Mumbai. Having lost her father two years before her own death, Ishrat taught tuition and did embroidery work to support her family.

Ishrat had left her house on 12 June 2004, three days before she was killed. On 15 June 2004. The Gujarat police stated that Ishrat, along with three other people, had been gunned down near Ahmedabad by a police team belonging to the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB).

According to the police, her companions were: Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai (Pune), Jishan Johar alias Abdul Ghani of Gujranwala, Pakistan and Amjad Ali Akbarali Rana alias Salim of Haveli Diwan, Pakistan. They were allegedly killed after the police chased their blue Tata Indica car.

The police claimed that all four were connected with the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba and were in Gujarat to assassinate Narendra Modi, in order to avenge the communal riots of 2002 which had led to the deaths of numerous Muslims.[7]

The police team was led by then Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay G. Vanzara, who was later jailed for involvement in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter killing.

In a news report published in Lahore-based Ghazwa Times (considered to be a mouthpiece of the LeT), the Lashkar-e-Taiba had claimed that Ishrat was its operative, and was with her "husband" at the time of her death.

Ishrat's family continues to insist that she was innocent and was not involved with LeT.

Her funeral procession was attended by over 10,000 people in Mumbra, and the Samajwadi Party state President Abu Azmi said that he would demand a CBI probe into the killings.

In August 2009, an Ahmedabad Metropolitan court ruled that the killing of Ishrat Jehan was a fake encounter. (ANI)

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