Satish Verma: Sherlock Holmes of the probe

Satish Verma, the Inspector General of Police who headed the Gujarat High Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), was the first officer who filed an affidavit in the HC in January 2011 terming the Ishrat Jahan encounter fake. In the same petition, Verma had said that witnesses in the case were being pressurised to retract by co- SIT member Mohan Jha.

Verma, on Tuesday, claimed before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) that the state government planned to "wrongfully harm him" because of his disclosures in the Ishrat Jahan probe.

Verma defied his colleagues in the SIT to dig out evidence that had been pushed under the carpet and proved the killings to be staged.

The 1986 batch IPS officer faced the brunt of the State Government after this, especially after he got legal clearance to assist the CBI in the probe.

Verma was severely criticized and faced allegations of supporting 'a Muslim terrorist'. However, Verma recorded statements of some key witnesses in the case that testified Ishrat and Javed were illegally abducted from Vasad (Anand) and brought to Ahmedabad. They were later held captive in Arham farmhouse in Gandhinagar and killed early on June 15, 2004.

His biggest move was raiding the forensic science laboratory in Ahmedabad to seize a hard disk containing old photographs of the encounter case. It was these photographs that helped SIT find out that the bodies of victims that were riddled with AK-56 bullet wounds also had 9mm wounds fired from revolvers at close range.

Verma called for Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to reconstruct the encounter that fixed accused cop Girish Singhal and his colleague NK Amin of the crime branch.

Singhal and Amin who said they had fired from a distance, could not justify the original photographs which showed close range shots and difference in measurements of bullet wounds other than AK-56 wounds on the bodies.

... contd.

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