Sunday, 19 May 2013

SIT in Ishrat Fake Encounter Case

Satish Verma: Tough cop dug up Ishrat case truth against all odds

Wednesday, Nov 23, 2011, 13:11 IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
Verma, who is also the joint commissioner of police (traffic), told the HC at the very beginning that the encounter was not genuine and that a fresh FIR should be filed against the guilty policemen.

His face does not betray his emotions. He does not speak a word before the media. He just does his work silently and with such thoroughness that, in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, more than 20 policemen are in a state of panic because of his work.

The man we are talking about is IPS officer Satish Verma, a member of the special investigation team (SIT) constituted by the Gujarat high court to investigate the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.

It was Verma who told the high court at the very beginning of the probe that the encounter was not genuine and that a fresh FIR should be filed against the guilty policemen. He finally found out the truth despite the hurdles put in his way initially by some of his own colleagues in the SIT.

Even among the police fraternity, Satish Verma, who is also joint commissioner of police (traffic), is considered a very tough officer.

He was the choice of the lawyers representing the victims, Ishrat and Javed, for member of SIT. The two other members - IPS officers RR Verma and Mohan Jha - were appointed by the Gujarat high court on the recommendation of the central and state governments, respectively.

Verma, who was earlier instrumental in checking the mafia rule in Porbandar of the late godmother, Santokben Jadeja, smelt a rat in the police account of the Ishrat encounter. He bluntly told the high court that he doubted the genuineness of the encounter. This led to his confrontation with his own colleagues in the probe team- former SIT chairman Karnal Singh and Gujarat-cadre IPS officer, Mohan Jha.

Sources said that though the high court had appointed a three-member SIT, it was Verma who actually dug up the truth single-handedly using his own network. A couple of witnesses belonging to the lower ranks of the police spilled the beans before Verma and confirmed that the Ishrat encounter was not genuine.

However, the two other members of the SIT were not in agreement with him. They wanted more investigation and even accused Verma of non-cooperation. Their differences came out in the open before the high court but Verma stuck to his stand. Not only that, he filed an affidavit before the court saying that the encounter was not genuine and that a fresh FIR should be filed against the involved policemen.

Sources said that Verma's tough stand put Karnal Singh, a joint commissioner of Delhi police, in an embarrassing position and he quit after he was transferred to Mizoram. Verma faced more hurdles when, in a midnight raid, he seized some vital forensic evidence related to the case from the state-run Forensic Science Laboratory. This led to one of the FSL officials lodging a complaint against him.

The tough police officer did not bow even when a couple of witnesses accused him of harassment. Sources in the SIT said that Satish Verma proved very helpful to chairman RR Verma in finding out the truth about the encounter.

It was Satish Verma's expertise in scientific and medical evidence which helped his team build up the sequence of events that had led to the encounter in which Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed by some trigger-happy policemen of the crime branch.


Blast from the past

Cops refusing to toe government line often pay a price for it. But, defiant IPS officers in Gujarat are increasingly becoming wary of the past. Many of those who raised heads against the government find themselves embroiled in legal cases which are decades old, says 
Ajay Umat

SATISH VERMA | Joint CP (traffic), Ahmedabad ATTACK A key member of special investigation team (SIT) who unraveled the fact that Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in a fake encounter. Verma had filed an affidavit in High Court stating that some SIT members were botching up the probe. 
COUNTER ATTACK State government issued a show cause notice in a 15-year-old case of alleged misconduct against him. On Wednesday, advocate general Kamal Trivedi told High Court that Verma’s role in a fake encounter case of 1996-97 was under scanner and hence he should not be allowed to continue with Ishrat Jahan inquiry.

Kuldeep Sharma | Addl DGP, on deputation in Delhi ATTACK Sharma was shunted to an insignificant posting in 2007 after he tried to build a case against a minister in a Madhavpura co-operative bank scam. He upset political masters by refusing to implicate danseuse Mallika Sarabhai who had filed a petition in the Supreme Court against Modi for his role in the 2002 riots. Senior BJP leaders believe he has been indirectly helping CBI in Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter probe. 
COUNTER ATTACK His promotions were stonewalled. State government tried to re-open an encounter case of 1984 involving him. However, the Gujarat High Court quashed the matter.

SANJIV BHATT | Suspended DIG ATTACK The cop raised a storm by telling R K Raghavan-led SIT, Supreme Court and the Nanavati Commission, which is probing Godhra riots cases that he was present in the meeting on February 27, 2002 where chief minister Narendra Modi ordered senior cops to go soft on marauding mobs. 
COUNTER ATTACK After suspending him, two cases, a 21-year-old alleged custodial torture case and a 15-yearold NDPS cases against Bhatt have suddenly resurfaced. Last month, Ahmedabad police arrested the cop on charges of influencing his constable to file an affidavit supporting Bhatt’s claim that he was present at CM residence for the controversial meeting.

RAHUL SHARMA | DIG, SRP (Gondal) ATTACK As a government witness, he submitted a valuable piece of evidence in post-Godhra riots case in the form of a CD to Nanavati and Banerjee Commissions and R K Raghavan-led SIT. The CD contains call records of police officers, BJP leaders and VHP office bearers that proved connivance during the riots. 
COUNTER ATTACK Nine years after he submitted the CD, Sharma was charge-sheeted for indiscipline and slapped case under Official Secrets Act for providing call records to the inquiry commissions and investigating agency.

RAJNISH RAI | DIG (On sabbatical) ATTACK As DIG in state CID (Crime) in 2007, he arrested three IPS officers including DG Vanzara and Rajkumar Pandian for allegedly killing Sohrabuddin Shaikh and the disappearance of his wife Kauserbi. Rai also filed an affidavit in Central Administrative Tribunal against his seniors OP Mathur and PC Pande for botching up investigations in the case. 
COUNTER ATTACK His promotion was blocked for insubordination by not informing his bosses regarding the arrests in Sohrabuddin encounter case. His annual confidential report was downgraded to deprive him for further promotions. Rai was also implicated in a copy case while he was taking first year law exams. The HC however quashed the Gujarat University decision.

Collector J B Vora and DDO B J Bhatt go down on their knees before Modi at Ambaji

HC extends stay on probe against Verma

TNN May 10, 2013, 03.52AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Thursday extended the stay on probe till June 12, in the case of alleged custodial deaths in Porbandar. Supreme Court had stayed the investigation on this issue after senior IPS officer Satish Verma requested to recall the order for fresh probe.
In his petition filed through advocate I H Syed, Verma has sought recall of April 18, 2012, order for fresh probe into the alleged custodial deaths on the ground that the investigation was already conducted earlier at the HC's order in 1998.
Verma has submitted documents and information showing that then IG of CID (crime) Hiralal investigated the issue and submitted his report before the high court. The cop has even supplied documents showing entry of the report in registry. Verma also submitted the documents showing that the local court in Porbandar had actually initiated proceedings on the closure report filed after the probe.
The documents in form of probe report were found missing from the HC last year and the court even set up an inquiry into it. Verma has claimed in his petition that non-availability of documents or rather these documents went missing from the court did not mean that the investigation had not happened. And when the HC order passed in 1998 for probe was duly complied with, there is no question of ordering a probe again.
Justice S R Brahmbhatt has extended the stay on the probe by ADGP (law & order) till further hearing.
Verma was posted as SP at Porbandar, when the incidents of alleged custodial death were reported in 1996-97. Jasu Gagan Shial and Aher Ranmal Ram were killed in police encounters, while Aher Narayan Jesti Bandhiya was found hanging on a tree beside a police station. He was on police remand then.
The HC ordered fresh probe on a petition filed by Shial's brother stating that probe was not conducted properly in 1998. He filed petition after Verma was included in the SIT to probe the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.

Ishrat Jahan: Satish Verma to remain a danger to accused

Friday, Dec 2, 2011, 15:58 IST | Place: Ahmedabad
Satish Verma, the straight forward IPS officer who played an important role in the probe of Ishrat Jahan encounter case, will remain a danger to the accused in the case.

Satish Verma, the straight forward IPS officer who played an important role in the probe of Ishrat Jahan encounter case, will remain a danger to the accused in the case. Verma's name for SIT had been suggested by the families of the victims.
Verma, currently posted as the joint commissioner of police in the traffic department of Ahmedabad city police, has been given the clear mandate by the high court to help the CBI in its investigations whenever needed.
The high court in its order on Thursday said that the state government will have to relieve Verma as and when he is required by the CBI in the investigations.
Unlike Mohan Jha and RR Verma who had shown their unwillingness to continue to be on SIT, Satish Verma had said that he would like to continue with the probe. Sources close to the development of Ishrat case said that Satish Verma had collected many evidences and corroborated them in such a manner that this will leave little chances for any of the accused to escape.
Verma had not only found the witnesses to the incident which occurred way back in 2004, but he also recorded their fresh statements and corroborated these statements with the facts of the case.
His investigation is going to create problems for the accused. "If CBI calls him, he could prove danger for the accused of the case as he has been very thorough in the investigation so far," a source said.
Verma is among the key investigators in the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by Gujarat High Court to investigate the Ishrat Jahan encounter
conducted by the DCB in June 2004.
HC hands over Ishrat probe to CBI
Thursday, 01 December 2011 22:26
Rathin Das | Ahmedabad

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday handed over further investigation into the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case to the CBI and asked the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to register a fresh FIR incorporating its findings so far.
A division bench of the high court comprising Justice Jayant Patel and Justice Abhilasha Kumari said the present chief of the SIT RR Verma should register a fresh FIR in the case with the appropriate CBI office within two weeks following which the central probe agency would begin the investigation.
The high court said the CBI team for further probe should be assisted by Gujarat cadre IPS officer Satish Verma, the sole member of the three-member SIT who was willing to continue with the probe. The Gujarat Government has been asked to spare Satish Verma to assist the CBI.
The SIT was also ordered to hand over all records to the CBI team and report to the high court about it. The SIT would be dissolved only after this process is completed, the bench ruled.
Ishrat's mother Shamima Kausar and Javed's father Gopinath Pillai had dubbed the encounter as fake and asked the court to have the killings investigated. The high court-appointed SIT last week concluded that the encounter was not genuine, following which the further investigation into the encounter was being ordered.
The division bench also snubbed the Centre for its stand that the CBI cannot take up the further probe as it is already overburdened and understaffed.
Rejecting the Centre's plea, the high court ordered the Union Government to arrange officers from other cadre on deputation to constitute the new probe team. "It is the bounden duty of the Centre to provide adequate manpower to the CBI", the high court observed.
The CBI team for further probe should be headed by an officer not below the rank of DIG, the court said. Further investigation would include the veracity of the claim of the Gujarat Police that the four killed were Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operatives who were on a mission to kill the Chief Minister, the court said.
Pronouncing the judgement, the division bench rejected the demand that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) should conduct the further probe as it is not mandated for such cases. The high court ruling said that the NIA has no competence or jurisdiction to undertake such probes.
"If Parliament has not conferred any power on the NIA (to probe encounters), this court cannot ask it to do so", the division bench observed.
The demand for further probe to be conducted by the same SIT was also rejected as two of the three IPS officers constituting the probe team have objected to the idea.
The Gujarat Government's demand for a State agency to conduct the further probe was also rejected as the court felt that it would not have any credibility among the victims' families.

Modi govt. shielding policemen, says court


Ishrat Jahan
Ishrat Jahan

High Court takes exception to State’s stance on IPS officer Satish Verma

The Gujarat High Court on Friday pulled up the State government for “shielding, protecting and siding with police officials” accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.
A Division Bench — which comprised Justice Jayant Patel and Justice Abhilasha Kumari — observed that the Special Investigation Team earlier alleged interference on the part of the State while the CBI report left no doubt that the State government was shielding the accused cops.
A CBI court recently issued an arrest warrant against Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) P.P. Pandey. The CBI is looking for him.
The court also took exception to the State government’s stance on senior IPS officer Satish Verma, who was assisting the Central agency in the case. While the court had asked the CBI to continue availing itself of Mr. Verma’s services to nab the other accused, the State sought Mr. Verma’s services for law and order.
It was Mr. Verma who had called the encounter a cold-blooded murder in sharp contrast to his police colleagues. He was part of the SIT.
The Mumbai-based college student was killed by officials of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch on June 15, 2004, along with three others whom the police had claimed to be operatives of the dreaded terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. The group, according to Crime Branch officials, had entered Gujarat to assassinate Chief Minister Narendra Modi

Gujarat shielding accused in Ishrat case: HC

TNN May 11, 2013, 12.39AM IST
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Friday slammed the state government for protecting the accused cops in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. The division bench of justice Jayant Patel and justice Abhilasha Kumari also extended till June 14 IPS officer Satish Verma's term as part of the CBI team investigating the case.
During the hearing, CBI counsel Ejaz Khan submitted that the state government had created obstruction in the probe and requested Verma's assistance till June 30. "We are fighting against the system... There is trust deficit since all of us (in the probe team) are from outside Gujarat," the lawyer argued.
Government pleader Prakash Jani opposed the request for extension to Verma and objected to the allegations of Gujarat officers influencing the probe.
Justice Patel told the prosecutor, "It has come on record even when the SIT was probing the case, officers involved in conspiracy were being sided with. They are shielded and protected. The state government is supposed to remain impartial and not to side with the accused... The state has no group and it must help finding out the culprits and punish them."
The CBI insisted on Verma's extension by submitting that his role was 'vital' in investigation and he will go to north India to probe into the identity of two of Ishrat's companions - Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar - who were alleged to have crossed over from Pakistan to Kashmir. The CBI counsel also submitted that Verma's presence was needed to investigate the issue of weapons found on the dead bodies after the alleged shootout on June 15, 2004 in which Ishrat and her three companions were killed on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
The court and the state government proposed that Verma be spared by the government for the investigation as and when needed, but the CBI cited the issue of confidentiality. Justice Kumari also commented, "Investigation of this kind needs secrecy, for some of the accused cops are as experienced in investigation as him (Verma)".
The bench added, "Some of the accused are still to be identified, and only Verma can identify them. Without his presence, the investigation will be damaged."
The court asked the probe agency to file another progress report on June 13.

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