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IPS arrest in Ishrat case

File picture of Musharat Jahan, sister of Ishrat Jahan

Ahmedabad, Feb. 21: The CBI today arrested a Gujarat IPS officer in connection with the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.

The agency has alleged that G.L. Singhal, now superintendent of police at the state crime records bureau, was part of the police team that allegedly killed Ishrat, a 19-year-old Mumbai girl, and three others on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

The police had claimed the four were Lashkar operatives out to kill chief minister Narendra Modi.

The CBI has alleged in its FIR that Singhal, then an assistant commissioner in the crime branch that carried out the operation, played a key role in the encounter, later found to be fake by a special investigation team (SIT) constituted by Gujarat High Court.

In September 2009, a metropolitan magistrate had concluded the encounter was fake, calling it “murders in cold blood by promotion-hungry, trigger-happy cops” and recommending cases against 22 police officers.

Javed Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Ajad Ali Rana were the others killed on an empty stretch of the highway between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar on the night on June 15, 2004.

Singhal is one of the key accused in the case besides IPS officer D.G. Vanzara, who is already in jail since 2007 in connection with the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, and additional DGP P.P. Pande.

Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kauser had approached the high court, which handed over the case to the CBI after the SIT termed the encounter fake. The court had come down heavily on state police, saying the case had “exceptional and national ramifications” and that Gujarat police could not be trusted to carry out an impartial investigation.

The court is monitoring the investigations and has asked the CBI to submit a progress report by March 15.