The Gujarat High Court on Friday asked the Special Investigation Team, probing the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, to submit its final report by November 18, and fixed the next hearing for November 21. When the SIT submitted an interim report, a Division Bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari expressed satisfaction over the progress in the probe into the June 15, 2004, encounter killing of the Mumbra (Mumbai) college girl and three others near Kotarpur on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Since the appointment of Bihar cadre IPS officer R. R. Verma as SIT chief, investigation had made “substantial progress and was almost nearing completion,” the court said.
The investigation faced rough weather in the past as four IPS officers either resigned or refused to take over as SIT chief. Mr. Verma was appointed SIT chief only a few months ago. After submitting its interim report, the SIT told the Bench that it would need some more time to conduct a few more tests and seek clarifications from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL). The court authorised the SIT to conduct psychological tests on witnesses who have retracted their earlier statements. Mr. Verma said the CFSL team would have to come again to recreate the encounter scene, a second time to help it conduct some more tests.
The court asked the SIT to get clarifications from experts of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on the ‘rigor mortis’ aspect of the post mortem report that indicated the time of death. The court rejected the demand of the petitioner’s advocate Mukul Sinha for seeing the SIT’s Action Taken Report. “You are not monitoring the case, the court is,” the Bench tersely told him.
- SIT still split on Ishrat encounter, may seek extension (Oct 5, 2011, Indian Express)
- Non-invasive ways to ascertain if witnesses lying (Oct 8, 2011, Times of India)
- Ishrat killing: SIT to ‘read minds’ of flip-flop witnesses (Oct 8, 2011, Indian Express)
- Ishrat SIT to fall back on hard evidence (Oct 9, 2011, DNA India)