Ishrat cop finds his guts after initial cop-outs

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One IPS officer who stands out in the story of the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter is Girish Laxman Singhal, the now accused IPS officer who "resigned" after he was arrested in this case.

Singhal, who had challenged in the Supreme Court the magisterial probe that held the encounter to be fake for the first time in 2009, has turned around since to provide evidence on how ministers in the government allegedly tried to derail the probe and how the "police was used for extra legal purpose in miscarriage of justice."

Once considered a "favourite" of the establishment, Singhal was promoted to the IPS in 2001 and posted as an assistant commissioner of police (ACP) in the Detection of Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, where he was an active member of suspended DIG DG Vanzara's team that shot dead Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh, Amjadali Rana and Zeeshan Johar on June 15, 2004.

Two pendrives that Singhal gave to the CBI contained the recorded conversation purportedly between him and then minister of state for home Amit Shah in September 2009 (a few weeks after Tamang report was submitted on September 7, 2009), and a conversation recorded in November 2011 purportedly discussing ways to "obstruct investigation of Ishrat case."

This meeting reportedly had Singhal, his advocate Rohit Verma, principal secretary in CMO G C Murmu, advocate general Kamal Trivedi, IGP Arun Kumar Sharma, Praful Patel, then minister of state for home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja, the minister of state for law, Bhupendra Chudasama, former minister, and Tarun Barot, another police officer accused in this case.

Now, the chargesheet filed by CBI against Singhal and six others annexes statements by some police officers who describe him as an officer who took a stand and disagreed with Vanzara on some counts when planning the killing of Ishrat and the three others.

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