Citing insufficient evidence, the CBI today gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi's close aide and Gujarat's former Home Minister Amit Shah in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others in 2004.
"There is no sufficient evidence against Amit Shah. Hence CBI has not charge-sheeted him," CBI Inspector Vishwas Kumar Meena said in an affidavit filed before the special CBI court.
"It is most respectfully submitted that Shah was not named in the FIR of the case. CBI has also not named him in the charge sheet as an accused," he said.
The premier investigating agency also sought dismissal of the plea by Gopinath Pillai, father of Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, who was among those killed with Ishrat, to arraign Shah and the then Ahmedabad police Commissioner K R Kaushik in the case.
Pillai had cited the resignation letter of suspended IPS officer and an accused in the Ishrat Jahan case D G Vanzara in support of his petition.
Vanzara, once considered close to Modi, had in September last year announced his resignation from the IPS, accusing the state government of not protecting police officers jailed in connection with alleged staged encounter cases.
He had then claimed those officers had "simply implemented the conscious policy" of the state government.
Several allegedly fake encounters of claimed terrorists, including those of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati, had taken place when Shah was Minister of State for Home. Shah, an accused in both cases, is presently out on bail.
In his resignation letter, Vanzara had targeted Shah, whom he described as an "evil" influence on Modi.
The CBI, in its affidavit today, said, "The said resignation letter contains general allegations and not providing any concrete information about the role of Shah in this offence. After receiving the letter, CBI examined Vanzara in the Jail. However, he has not disclosed any further details during his examinations."
Apart from giving a clean chit to Shah, BJP general secretary and Modi's pointsman in the key battleground state of Uttar Pradesh, the CBI also said there was no evidence against Kaushik to show his involvement in the encounter and so he was made a witness in the case.
"During further investigation and evidence collected so far, it appears that Kaushik was not involved in the conspiracy of killing the deceased," the CBI affidavit said, adding the agency had shown him as a prosecution witness in its supplementary charge sheet in the case.
CBI had named IPS officers Vanzara, P P Pandey, G L Singhal and other police officers as accused in the first charge sheet, claiming that it was a joint operation by Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau.
In its supplementary charge sheet, it had named former IB Joint Director Rajendra Kumar, who was then posted at the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau in Gujarat, and three other officers as accused.
Ishrat (19), a college girl from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter with Gujarat Police on the outskirts of city on June 15, 2004.
Gujarat police had claimed after the encounter that the deceased were Lashkar-e-Toiba activists out on a mission to kill Narendra Modi.