According to CBI, which is probing the case, Pandey, Additional DGP, acted like action hero Rambo in the entire operation. Ishrat, a 19-year-old Mumbai girl, and her three associates were gunned down by Ahmedabad Crime Branch, which had then claimed they were "terrorists".
Justice Harsha Devani, after hearing all sides in the case, fixed July 1 for giving her verdict on the plea. The 1982-batch IPS officer, declared an absconder by the CBI Court here on June 21, has claimed in his petition that he had merely passed on the intelligence inputs that two of the four people killed in the encounter were "terrorists" and planning to enter the city to kill the Chief Minister.
Countering Pandey's argument that his role in the case was limited to providing intelligence inputs, Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising claimed that Pandey was the 'mastermind' behind the killing of the four people.
"He is the mastermind behind the whole encounter. He was a conduit...he received inputs, passed it to his subordinates and arranged everything...in fact he was in total control of the operation. He actually acted as Rambo," she alleged.
The FIR, filed by the Central agency, alleges that Pandey provided the "so-called crucial intelligence inputs" to the fellow officers which said that Ishrat, a college student, and three others were LeT operatives and were on a mission to assassinate Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Pandey, as Joint Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, was heading the Crime Branch when Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in the encounter near here on June 15, 2004.
Opposing the plea, Jaising, who represented the CBI, also challenged the maintainability of the petition. "A Division Bench of this High Court had in December 2011, upon reading the final report of the SIT, directed the registration of a fresh FIR in this case and ordered that CBI will be conducting investigation," she said.