Gujarat High Court gets free hand in Ishrat Jahan case (Lead)

September 6th, 2010 - 11:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday said the Gujarat High Court is free to appoint any agency to investigate the 2004 Ishrat Jahan shootout killing in Ahmedabad.
The apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershann Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar passed this order after R.K. Raghavan, the head of Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigative Team (SIT) probing the 2002 post-Godhra communal riots in the state, refused to undertake the probe into the matter.

Ishrat Jahan, a college student from Mumbai, was allegedly gunned down by Gujarat police in Ahmedabad June 15, 2004. The state police claimed she was linked with a terror outfit.

The SIT was directed by the high court Aug 12 to undertake fresh investigations into the Ishrat Jahan case in which three others were also killed.

The apex court bench frowned on the high court direction and asked how it could direct the SIT to undertake investigation into another matter.

The apex court by its Aug 27 order stayed the high court direction to issue notification for the transfer of investigation into the Ishrat Jahan case from the state police to the SIT.

Ishrat’s family, however, opposed a probe by the SIT and wanted the case to be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the lines of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh staged shootout.

The high court had, on an earlier plea by Kausar, decided to entrust the case to the SIT on the basis of the findings of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S.P. Tamang that it was a fake shootout and cold-blooded murder.

The Supreme Court Monday also issued notice on the Gujarat government’s petition, challenging the high court verdict that Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S.P. Tamang’s report on Ishrat Jahan shootout case was within its jurisdiction.

The high court had passed this order after the state government challenged Tamang’s report, wherein he had contested the state police claim Ishrat Jahan’s shootout killing.

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