The Supreme Court Friday dismissed a petition by the Additional Director General of Gujarat Police P.P. Pandey challenging the state high court’s order by which it had handed over to the CBI the investigation into Ishrat Jahan and her associates’ staged shootout killing.
The court also directed the registration of a fresh First Information Report (FIR).
Holding that the high court order had been challenged two years after it was passed Dec 1, 2011, and the charge sheet in the case had already been filed, the apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Kurian Joseph said it was not a fit petition to be entertained.
Pronouncing the order, Justice Misra said there were numerous instances wherein high courts, upon finding that the investigation by the state police was not being carried out satisfactorily, had handed the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and ordered the registration of a fresh FIR.
It is not “uncommon and unknown to law for the high court to handover the investigation into a case to CBI if, in its opinion, the facts of the case justified it”, said the court pronouncing its order.
Rejecting Pandey’s plea, the court further noted that there was no valid or justified contention that the matter should not have been handed over to the CBI.
Having said this, Justice Misra referred to the Nithari case, pointing out that after the matter was first investigated by the Uttar Pradesh Police, it was handed over to the CBI.
Nithari in Uttar Pradesh, a village bordering Delhi, made international headlines in 2006, when the skeletons of apparently murdered women and children were recovered. A businessman and his servant were sentenced to death in the case.
Rejecting the plea that long delay in filing the petition challenging Dec 1, 2011, order of the High court was because Pandey was not a party to the case, the court said that he could have impleaded himself in the case before the high court after he was named in the second FIR as one of the accused.
Rejection of Pandey’s plea has further compounded his woes, as the trial court has already declared him an absconder since he has so far evaded arrest.
Ishrat Jahan and her three associates were killed in a staged shootout by Gujarat Police June 15, 2004 after an input by the Intelligence Bureau that the operatives of Lashkar-e-Taiba were heading towards Gujarat to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.