Ishrat encounter: HC asks CBI to file progress report by March 14

The Gujarat High Court Friday expressed its dissatisfaction over the CBI investigation in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case so far and granted it two months' time to submit a progress report to carry out substantial investigation in the case. With this, the court has posted the matter for further hearing on March 15 while asking the central agency to submit its progress report by March 14.

A division bench of the HC comprising of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari have been hearing a petition of CBI whereby it has sought direction to the state government to provide services of senior Gujarat-cadre IPS officer, Satish Verma, for his assistance in the investigation of the case.

On December 1, 2011, the HC had handed over investigation of the case to the CBI. The court had done so after a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had unanimously concluded that the encounter was fake. The court had also kept it open for the probe agency to take services of Verma in the investigation.

Subsequently, CBI had sought Verma's services last year and his services were made available to it for four months. After the four months' time got expired, CBI moved application seeking his assistance for more time.

During the hearing of this application, the court sought to know the status of investigation in the case from the CBI. The probing agency submitted its progress report to the court Thursday.

On Friday, the court said in more than one year's time, only 30-40 per cent investigation has been done and the "crucial stage" has not come yet.

Speaking on behalf of the bench, Justice Patel observed that they want the investigation to be completed soon as it was more than a year since the agency was given the case. Justice Patel sought a definite time from CBI counsel, Yogesh Ravani, to finish the probe.

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