Ishrat Jahan case: Enough evidence to prove fake killings

The probe into the sensational killings of Ishrat her three associates was directly monitored by the Gujarat high court.

Sources said the SIT, during its investigations, came across substantial evidence to prove that Ishrat and the other three were caught alive and then killed.

For instance, the SIT has stated in its report that on the basis of forensic and scientific evidence it has been concluded that Ishrat’s date and time of killing is different from that of the time and date of the encounter.

In fact, the report categorically states that Ishrat was killed before the encounter. Then, the SIT managed to get seven eyewitnesses who stated that they had seen Ishrat and others alive in police custody before they were killed.

The SIT report adds that though subsequently six of the seven witnesses retracted but senior IPS officer Anshuman Yadav investigated the statements given by the eyewitnesses and these were found to be correct.

“It appears that the eyewitnesses retracted their statements under pressure which will also be investigated now,” a senior official remarked. Incidentally, suspended DIG D.G. Vanzara and ACP N.K. Amin are also accused in the Soharabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and murder of Sheikh’s wife Kausar Bi and are presently lodged in jail.

According to the SIT findings, Ishrat and the other victims were kept at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. This was corroborated by the security guard of the farmhouse. Incidentally, it is the same farmhouse where Kausar Bi was kept and later killed.

The SIT also recorded statements of the staff at a toll plaza near Baroda which claimed that they had seen Ishrat and Javed in a police vehicle before the encounter.

Sources said reports given by two Central agencies — National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) — to the SIT in this case are also extremely important. The NIA admitted that while questioning David Coleman Headley, the main accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, he disclosed that Ishrat was a Lashkar operative.

However, NIA sources said, this was never included in Headley’s interrogation report as they never found any evidence to this effect. The NIA informed the SIT that during investigations they were not able to link Ishrat to Lashkar.

Similarly, the IB too told the SIT that they had never issued any specific advisory to the state government that the LeT was planning to kill Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

The crime branch in its defence had argued that Ishrat and her associates were killed on a specific tip-off from the IB.

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