Ishrat case: Plot thickens, CBI silent on whereabouts of 4 crucial links

The CBI, which is probing the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case, is yet to crack the mystery of four people whose names figure in the chargesheet it filed in a court here early this month.

According to CBI, Meraj Idrisi, Javabhai, Asad and Owaish played curious roles in the entire saga but have not been traced so far.

Meraj and Java were reportedly close associates of Javed Sheikh, who was killed along with Ishrat and two others in the June 15, 2004 police encounter near Ahmedabad. Asad and Owaish were made out to be informers of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau.

The CBI is silent on the whereabouts of the four.

Meraj, a resident of Ibrahimpur in Faizabad district of UP, has been shown in various testimonies as having met Javed in Dubai.

Meraj's wife Salma Banu told the CBI that soon after her marriage in February 2004, she was taken to Mumbai where she stayed at Meraj's aunt's place. "In April 2004, one Javed of Pune and a lady named Ishrat Jahan came to my house (Mumbra at Meraj's aunt's place). Javed was introduced to me by my husband as his friend who he knew when he was in Dubai," Salma told CBI. She also talks about one Salimbhai. "Salimbhai was having an injury on his shoulder...he was wearing bandage on his body."

In June 2004, Meraj reportedly told Salma he had to rush to Dubai. Two days after his departure, police came to their house looking for him and took away some papers. Since then, Meraj never returned. "Whenever he came to India, I used to go to Delhi and meet him at my sister's house," Salma told the CBI.

Salma's statement corroborates Meraj's sister Sayifa Banu, who says that in April, her brother's friends Javed, Ishrat and Salim had stayed at Ibrahimpur. She has told the CBI, "Salimbhai was having a black bag with him and a mobile phone which was quite big. He didn't use the mobile in our presence and used to go to the terrace to talk."

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