Ahmedabad: Refusing to let the investigations linger on, the Gujarat High Court has finally set a deadline of one month for special investigation team (SIT) to the complete the probe in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. The court has also asked SIT’s new chairman Rajiv Ranjan Verma to look into the retractions of important witnesses, and if needed, arrest those who influenced the probe.

A bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice Abhilasha Kumari directed the SIT to take the help of officials who were probing the case, police force or any other possible aide to complete the probe by September 7, 2011.

The SIT has been asked to submit the report to the court in a sealed envelope on September 8. The court has set September 9 as the date for the next hearing.

It has also directed the SIT to find the prima facie evidence of conspiracy and seek possible help from the Central Forensic Lab in the matter. Following the direction, the SIT chairman himself visited many of the places in the city, by concealing his identity, to take stock of the case.

Verma had earlier informed the court that the most important aspect of the case is to find the authenticity of the statements recorded and also to ascertain which all statements were influenced.

SIT documents leaked

IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt had alleged that the SIT documents related to the investigation of the 2002 Godhra riots were leaked to a high official of the state government.

Importantly, Bhatt had also alleged that during the riots, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had misused the official machinery.

What is Ishrat fake encounter case?

Four persons, Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar, were killed in the operation carried out by the city crime branch near Kotarpur Water Works on June 15, 2004. After the encounter, the police dubbed them as Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives out to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi to avenge the 2002 riots.

(JPN/ Bureau)