Ishrat Case: rift within SIT comes to light before HC

Ahmedabad, Jan 14 (PTI) The rift within the SIT probingthe Ishrat Jahan ''fake'' encounter over the move to appoint anamicus curie came to the fore prompting the Gujarat High Courtto ask whether there was any "groupism" in the team.

The court also said that it will have to work out afunctioning-model for the three-member Special InvestigationTeam (SIT) to ensure that "sanctity and spirit of its order isnot paralysed due to difference of opinions amongst members."

SIT member Satish Verma, who yesterday filed anaffidavit before the division bench of Justices Jayant Pateland Abhilasha Kumari, has also complained about the ''attitude''of its chairman Karnal Singh.

The division bench was hearing the application filedby Singh seeking appointment of an amicus curie for providinglegal assistance to SIT, yesterday.

Verma has claimed in the affidavit that Singhapproached the court in his "personal capacity" withouttaking him into confidence, and the application was movedwithout a consensus within the SIT.

He further submitted that appointment of a lawyer isthe state government''s responsibility and an amicus curie issupposed to be neutral and one who cannot advise the SIT.

The High Court directed Singh to remain present onJanuary 28 along with other members of SIT, when the nexthearing will take place.

It also asked whether there was any "groupism" in theSIT, to which Verma submitted that there were differences andSingh''s attitude to the case was such that investigation wouldultimately suffer.

The other SIT member, Mohan Jha, who was also present,informed the court that Singh had informally discussed theissue of getting legal assistance during a meeting at a guesthouse in Mehsana.

Backing Singh, Jha said that such differences betweenmembers could hamper investigation.

The present three-member SIT was formed by the GujaratHigh Court on September 24, 2010 to probe the ''fake'' encounternear Ahmedabad in 2004 involving the Crime Branch in whichMumbai-based Ishrat Jahan, Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias PraneshKumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana andJisan Johar Abdul Gani were killed.

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