Ishrat Jahan case:Police officers custody extended till Feb 28

Ishrat Jahan

A local court today extended the custody of two police officers, Tarun Barot and Bharat Patel, arrested on Saturday by CBI in connection with alleged fakeen counter of Ishrat Jahan, for three more days. Additional chief judicial magistrate H S Khutwad said "The accused police officers have been remanded to police custody till February 28 for further interrogation."

The agency had earlier argued that the duo, during their one-day police custody granted by the court yesterday, were adopting evasive tactics and not cooperating during interrogation.

"The encounter case is an old one and the accused police officers are adopting various tactics to hide crucial evidence during interrogation," CBI lawyer Abhishek Arora said.

The CBI argued that "the accused police officers, knowing fully well that the police custody granted to them was only for 24 hours, did not at all cooperate during interrogation and gave evasive replies."

Opposing the remand application, counsel Brijrajsinh Jhala, who argued for Patel, said that despite being given 24hours for interrogation, they were probed only for one and a half hours.

He also said that "false evidence is being created in the name of interrogation", adding that CBI has mentioned that some Call Detail Record (CDR) of police officials involved in nakabandi and encounter was available while earlier the agency had said that CDR was permanently lost.

CBI counsel, however, pointed out that in the initial FIR filed by the Crime Branch, it was mentioned that CDR waspermanently lost but the FIR filed by CBI stated that for commercial purposes (billing), telecom companies could make CDR available for seven years.

The CBI had arrested Special Operation Group (SOG), Gandhinagar police inspector Bharat Patel and suspended Mehsana DySP Tarun Barot late on Saturday evening. Patel was police sub-inspector with Crime Branch, Ahmedabad in 2004.

The Gujarat police had alleged that 19-year-old Mumbai girl Ishrat Jahan, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, AmjadaliAkbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were a part of the conspiracy to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. They were killed in an encounter on June 15, 2004 on a stretch of road between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Earlier, CBI had arrested Girish Singhal, Superintendent of Police with State Crime Records Bureau, and J G Parmar, retired DSP and the court, after rejecting their remand, had sent them in judicial custody.

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