He is the first high profile accused to be discharged in the sensational case involving top ranking officials of the Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau.
A special CBI court in Ahmedabad on February 21 discharged P.P. Pandey, former Gujarat DGP and a key accused, from the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. This makes making Mr. Pandey the first high profile accused to be discharged in the sensational case involving top ranking officials of the Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau.
Special CBI Judge J.K. Pandya allowed Mr. Pandey’s discharge plea in an order delivered on February 21.
A 1980-batch IPS officer, Mr. Pandey was arrested in July 2013 by the CBI, and spent nearly 19 months in jail. He got bail in February 2015 following which he was reinstated in the State police and was promoted to DGP level. Even after his superannuation, he was given extension in the service but after a petition in the Gujarat High Court, his extension was withdrawn.
Judge Pandya allowed Mr. Pandey’s discharge application on the ground that there was no evidence against him related to the kidnapping and murder of Ishrat Jahan and three others.
The CBI had accused Mr. Pandey, who then headed the Ahmedabad crime branch, as being involved in the alleged fake encounter.
The court said that no witnesses accused Mr. Pandey of the murder and kidnapping of the victims.
It also said that the witnesses’ evidences were contradictory as they gave different evidences to different investigating agencies.
The court also held that being a government servant, permission to prosecute Mr. Pandey was not taken by the investigating officer from the state before filing of the charge sheet against him, as per section 197 of the CrPC.
In the first charge sheet filed by the CBI in 2013, seven Gujarat police officers were named as accused, including Mr. Pandey, D.G. Vanzara and G.L. Singhal, facing charges for kidnapping, murder and conspiracy.
The CBI had named four IB officials, including IB’s special director Rajinder Kumar and officer M.S. Sinha, in supplementary charge sheet, which still awaits the Centre’s sanction.
The city crime branch officials had gunned down 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan from Mumbra in Maharashtra, her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh, Zeeshan Johar and Amzad Rana in an alleged encounter on June 15, 2004 on the outskirts of the city.