Fake Encounter Case of Ishrat Jahan

The cold blooded execution of Ishrat Jahan Raza (19), a Mumbai resident girl along with Pranesh Pillai (who had an alias of Javed Gulam Sheikh), Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar on 15th June 2004 and the subsequent attempts of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch to cover up these killings as ‘encounters’, is still an open criminal case in Gujarat, being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The killed victims were given a LeT terrorist tag and conspiracy charges to kill Narendra Modi. The charade of the encounter was carried out by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch officers headed by DIG D G Vanzara. In 2009, after a period of 5 years of intensive investigation, the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Court passed the sentence that the entire encounter procedure was a sham. This verdict was naturally denounced by the Gujarat Government who sought the decisions of the High Court. The first charge sheet as a result of the CBI probe in the issue was submitted in an Ahmedabad court in July 2013, which reaffirmed the fact that the encounter was a fake and a premeditated execution of the victims had taken place which is conducive with the beliefs of Ishrat’s family, other activists and politicians.


While CBI abstained from commenting on the terrorist status of the victims, the statement of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (the political faction of LeT) issued in 2007 negated any LeT connections of Ishrat which further strengthened her innocence. The rumour that the convicted terrorist David Headley had fingered Ishrat and her associates (dismissed by National Investigation Agency-NIA) under interrogation is strongly believed by the CBI to be a fabrication of the IPS officer Rajendra Kumar, another prime suspect in the Ishrat fake encounter case. The declaration of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in 2011 before the Gujarat High Court, that the entire encounter was a fake and the victims were actually executed much before June 15th, 2004 is being openly contradicted now by the Intelligence Bureau Chief Asif Ibrahim. As per a declaration issued by Ibrahim in June 2013, to the office of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of India, the Bureau is in possession of substantial and conclusive proof to support Ishrat’s LeT connections and the conspiracy to kill Narendra Modi (the Chief Minister of Gujarat) and Lal Krishna Advani. Point is if the Bureau does possess such incriminating evidence, why it isn’t releasing it to the CBI, the current investigative authority? Such an action will also clear the name of DIG Vanzara.


The current investigations of CBI:

The individuals called in for questioning as a result of the CBI probe in the Ishrat encounter case include Gujarat Minister of State for Law, Pradeep Singh Jadeja and State Advocate General Kamal Trivedi. As revealed by the sources, Jadeja was interrogated regarding a particular rendezvous in Gandhinagar on 11th November 2011 with the sole motive of drawing up a blueprint to foul up CBI’s ongoing investigations into the Ishrat encounter case and three similar fake encounter cases. Two pen drives containing a record of the conversations exchanged in the said meeting was handed over to the CBI by the IPS officer G L Singhal, currently under suspension and also one of the nine individuals who attended the alleged meet held in the personal niche of Advocate General Trivedi. Other than Singhal and Trivedi, 7 other individuals were present in the alleged meet namely Tarun Barot (a prime suspect and accused in the Ishrat encounter case), Rohit Verma (lawyer and a friend of Singhal), A K Sharma (now Crime Branch Joint Commissioner), G C Murmu (now secretary to Chief Minister Narendra Modi), Bhupendrasinh Chudasama (now Agriculture Minister), Jadeja (former Minister) and Praful Patel (Ex-MoS, Home). Singhal is out of jail custody on bail but CBI failed to issue a charge-sheet against him within the designated 90 days period. CBI has finished the interrogation of Murmu and A K Sharma.


In the charge-sheet filed in July 2013, CBI has specifically identified Vanzara, Singhal, and some other IPS officers currently under suspension namely N K Amin, P P Pandey, Tarun Barot, Anaju Chaudhary (commando) and retired DSP J G Parmar. The charges against them are one of first degree murder and ‘criminal conspiracy’ pertaining to the Ishrat fake encounter case.


DIG Vanzara, the key to the Ishrat fake encounter case:

DIG Vanzara, currently serving a jail sentence as a convict in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases has been interrogated by the CBI. DIG Vanzara submitted his resignation on 1st September 2013. The ten page resignation letter seems to be a turning point in the case where he had lashed out at the current Modi Government for not defending him and 32 other police officials serving jail sentences for fake encounter cases, especially when they were acting exclusively to preserve the Government’s interest to countermand terrorist activities. In his letter, Vanzara has openly alleged former Home Minister of State, Amit Shah for abandoning him and 32 other police officers. Incidentally Shah and Vanzara are partners in crime in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases. It is to be mentioned here that the IPS officials of the 1987 batch formed an integral part of the Modi Lobby. As for Vanzara’s (currently under suspension), resignation letter, it had been rejected by the State, and as per the statement of Additional Chief Secretary (Home), S K Nanda, “We will write to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for appropriate guidance”.


Regarding the ten page resignation letter and the accusations made in it by Vanzara, the opinions of a senior CBI official is as follows, “We are studying the ten page letter since a copy of the same has also been marked to the CBI Director. Vanzara does not cite any specific instance in the Ishrat Jahan or the Sadique Jamal fake encounter cases where he may have been specifically directed by then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah or Narendra Modi to act in a particular way”. CBI’s attempt to extract from Vanzara, information about any political nexus under interrogation, proved futile but Vanzara’s interrogations are not over yet. Undoubtedly Vanzara knows more than what he is saying, especially since he was a core member of the Modi Lobby, and he is the number one suspect in the fake encounter cases under CBI probe. Chances are the information he has, he might want to encash it at the right time to improve his position or he is afraid of the fact that if he starts singing, he might be met with a similar fate as that of Ishrat.


No ‘encounter’ in our country occurs without a sanction from the political authorities. It is evident that the Ishrat fake encounter case is a much bigger conspiracy than what meets the eye and the sanction for it came from very high places. Even 9 years after the incident CBI is yet to reach a conclusion regarding the bigger picture. Narendra Modi is well known for his anti-Muslim sentiments. It is true that Muslims are responsible for more than 90% of the terrorist activities going on around the world, but India is a democratic country with the Muslims as minority. We cannot shoot 19 years old Muslim girl indiscriminately, in the name of countering terrorism!