In a big relief to BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi’s close aide Amit Shah, the CBI on Wednesday told a special court in Ahmadabad that the agency had no evidence connecting him to the Ishrat Jehan fake encounter case.
A CBI official said the agency had told the court that there was no prosecutable evidence to nail Shah. Some police officers’ statements hinting at the involvement of Shah and Modi are merely “hearsay”, he added referring to jailed IPS officer D G Vanzara’s resignation letter which claimed Shah had played a crucial role in the fake encounter.
“The agency has placed the evidence collected in the case before the court. Now it is for the honourable court to decide,” a CBI spokesperson said. The material can be revived if there is fresh evidence in the case. However, whether to arraign Shah as an accused will be the court’s call. Ishrat Jehan, Amjad Ali Khan, Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh and Zeeshan Johar were killed on June 15, 2004 by Gujarat Police who claimed the four youths were on their way to execute a plot to assassinate Modi and other top BJP leaders. The police had claimed the youths were members of the Pakistan-based LeT.
In its first chargesheet filed on July 3, 2013, the CBI said the encounter was jointly staged by the subsidiary Intelligence Bureau in Ahmadabad and state police.
In February, the CBI, which recorded statements of over 170 witnesses, arraigned former Intelligence Bureau special director Rajinder Kumar along with three other officers of the IB but didn’t name Shah. In March, Gopinath Pillai, father of Pranesh, filed a petition in the court challenging the CBI clean chit to Shah. Pillai alleged that the investigators had deliberately ignored incriminating evidence against Shah.
“The list of evidence cited by Pillai has already been looked into by the CBI and we are convinced that they do not constitute any prosecutable evidence,” the CBI official said.
The development provided fresh ammunition to the BJP to train its gun on the Congress “for scripting a political conspiracy. The CBI clean chit in court to Amit Shah will be seen as Satyamev Jayate (truth prevails)y,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.