India, New Delhi: A police officer who investigated the alleged encounter has told the Indian Express, according to the paper on Thursday, a 19 year old college girl, Ishrat Jahan, in the eye of a storm in Indian parliament, was killed in police custody during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stewardship of Gujarat. Breaking his silence on the case, Satish Verma, the IPS officer who assisted the CBI probe into the alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004, said her killing was a “premeditated murder”.
Mr Verma told Indian Express, “Our investigation has found that Ishrat along with three others had been picked by IB (Intelligence Bureau) days before the encounter. In fact, there was no intelligence input with the IB that a woman would be accompanying the alleged terrorists. There was no input on Ishrat. These people were kept in illegal custody and then shot dead,”He was one of the members of the special investigation team appointed by the Gujarat High Court.
Mumbra girl Ishrat was killed along with three men on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. It was alleged that they were members of a Lashkar-e-Taiba group. Last week, former home secretary G.K. Pillai told Times that the alleged Lashkar group was lured by the IB to Gujarat in 2004. An IG-rank officer currently posted in Shillong, Mr Verma said: “What is happening here is that this bogey of nationalism and security is being raised to discredit a poor and innocent girl so that an environment can be created for a favourable outcome for those involved in this crime. The Home Ministry has refused sanctions to prosecute IB officers even though courts have held that in fake encounters, there is no requirement for sanction.”
He also disputed the description of Ishrat as a Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist and a suicide bomber, saying she was away from her home and family for only about 10 days after she came into contact with Javed Sheikh, one of the three men in the group.