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Ishrat ‘clean chit’ for Shah

Ahmedabad, May 7: The CBI today told a court it had not found “sufficient” evidence against Narendra Modi aide Amit Shah to chargesheet him in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, virtually giving the former Gujarat home minister a clean chit.

“There is no sufficient evidence against Amit Shah. Hence (the) CBI has not chargesheeted him,” inspector Vishwas Kumar Meena said in an affidavit filed before the special CBI court.

“It is most respectfully submitted that Shah was not named in the FIRů. (The) CBI has also not named him in the chargesheet as an accused,” the inspector added.

The affidavit was in response to an application filed by Gopinath Pillai, the father of one of the three persons killed along with Ishrat in the alleged June 2004 encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

The police had claimed that the four — Ishrat, a 19-year-old college girl from Mumbra, near Mumbai, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Rana and Zeesgan Jogar — were Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives on a mission to kill Modi.

Pillai, Javed’s father, wanted Shah and then Ahmedabad police commissioner K.R. Kaushik to be arraigned. But the CBI said it had not chargesheeted Kaushik as he was “not involved” in the conspiracy.

“During further investigation and evidence collected so far, it appears that Kaushik was not involved in the conspiracy of killing the deceased,” the affidavit said.

Advocate Samshad Pathan, who represented Pillai, said lack of “sufficient evidence” did not mean there was no evidence at all. It means there is some evidence but it is not sufficient. There is still scope to make him (Shah) an accused in the case, he added.

The matter has now been fixed for arguments on Friday.

Pillai had cited the resignation letter of suspended IPS officer D.G. Vanzara, an accused in the case, in support of his plea. Vanzara, in his letter, had said he had “simply implemented the conscious policy” of the state government.

Vanzara had last September announced his resignation, accusing the Gujarat government of not protecting police officers jailed in connection with alleged fake encounters. In his resignation letter, he had even described Shah, the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh minder, as an “evil” influence on Modi.

The CBI said Vanzara’s letter contained “general allegations” and did not provide any concrete information about the role of Shah, who is also an accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases.