Ishrat killing: HC pats CBI for probe, sets a deadline

Expressing satisfaction over the progress in the investigation of 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter killing case by CBI, the Gujarat High Court on Friday asked the central agency to submit its further progress report by May 9.

The court also allowed the CBI to retain Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Satish Verma in its probe team till April 30. Verma had played a key role in the investigation of the case first as a member of a Special Investigation Team and then as part of the CBI probe team.

The next hearing in the case has been kept for May 10.

A division bench of HC comprising justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari has been supervising the case probe after ordering registration of a fresh FIR and handing over the probe to CBI in December 2011.

Immediately after taking up the matter on Friday, Justice Patel said there was substantial probe done by CBI in the past two months.

So far, CBI has arrested five police officers in the case, including superintendent of police G L Singhal.

The court asked the CBI counsel how long they would take to finish the probe. The counsel replied they would file the chargesheet by May-June.

At this point, government pleader Prakash Jani rose and told the court that Verma, who has assisting CBI in the case, be sent back to Gujarat as he was a senior police officer and his services were required. Jani argued that CBI had a team of senior police officers who could handle the case and it was nearly a year since Verma was allowed to assist CBI.

However, CBI counsel Yogesh Ravani told the court that the investigation in the case was at a crucial stage and Verma's services were required till May 10.

Subsequently, the court ordered that Verma would remain with CBI for the case till April 30 and then would be repatriated to Gujarat-cadre. The bench also observed that his services could not be made available to CBI indefinitely.

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