Ahmedabad: Nine years after a college student, Ishrat Jahan, was shot dead along with three others on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, the CBI has said that the shooting was a staged encounter carried out "in cold blood." The agency said the killing was a joint operation between the Gujarat Police and the state's Intelligence Bureau.
The CBI, which filed its first chargesheet in the case in a court in Ahmedabad today, did not comment on whether Ishrat and the others were terrorists, or whether Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his then Home Minister Amit Shah had been informed in advance about the encounter.
Seven policemen have been accused of charges that include conspiracy, murder, and destruction of evidence. They include top officers DG Vanzara, already in jail, and PP Pande, who is absconding.
The CBI also said that it will further investigate the alleged roles of Rajendra Kumar, who was then the Gujarat station chief of the Intelligence Bureau and three other officers from his agency.
After the report was filed, Ishrat's mother demanded death penalty for her daughter's killers.
The state police has said that the Intelligence Bureau had warned that Ishrat and the others were planning to assassinate the chief minister. But the CBI says the four people were illegally confined at three different farmhouses for days before the encounter on June 15, 2004 and that the weapons that were found near their bodies, which included an AK-56, were supplied by the Intelligence Bureau.
The CBI says Mr Kumar met with Mr Vanzara and Mr Pandey on June 14, hours before the shooting and finalised the blueprint of the murders. It also says that before Ishrat died, Mr Kumar interrogated her at the farmhouse where she was kept along with her friend Javed Shaikh.
On the morning of the shooting, a policeman allegedly drove Ishrat and the others to the spot where they would be killed in Javed's blue Indica.
The BJP has alleged that the CBI is being misused by the Congress to target the Gujarat Chief Minister months before the 2014 general elections.