Sunday, January 8, 2012

FIR unveils lapses in Gujarat police probe

Ajay Umat & Harit Mehta | TNN

Ahmedabad: The initial investigation done by Gujarat police in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case has come under cloud. The fresh FIR filed by Special Investigation Team (SIT) to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) says there are serious lapses and omissions in the earlier probe.
The then investigating officer (IO) did not obtain call data record of cellphones used by the accused cops during the course of the killing —a crucial piece of evidence. As cellular service providers retain such data only for one year, it is not available now, and this valuable piece of evidence is permanently lost, according to the complaint.
Secondly, videography of the scene of offence shows that police officers present there were handling and changing positions of important exhibits like firearms. The IO had mentioned the names, aliases and addresses of the deceased in a letter to the sub-divisional magistrate, Ahmedabad for conducting inquest on the bodies of the deceased. “The IO could not have known these details before the inquest was done,” the complaint says.
The SIT has said that the IO had not got the cops’ weapons forensically examined. “This was done only in 2009, whereupon important evidence became known. The IO did not examine the logbooks of police vehicles used during the incident. Subsequent examination of the logbooks discloses that some of these police vehicles were not used during the incident,” says the SIT FIR.
The FIR also states that experts from Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) had visited the scene of offence immediately.
“They had taken photographs and had guided the IO. However, they did not follow the scientifically correct procedure for lifting the exhibits, especially the empty cartridge cases, from its situation position and marking it clearly,” according to the complaint.
SIT also observed that FSL did not share photographs of the scene of offence with the IO — some photographs were clearly inconsistent with the version of the incident.
Dubious intel input?
According to the then police commissioner KR Kaushik, the intelligence input that Jahan and three others were here to kill chief minister Narendra Modi was given orally to him by Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB), Ahmedabad. However, the initial investigation was contradictory to the intelligence inputs.
SIT clean chit to Ishrat?
The complaint says Jahan had no criminal record when she was killed. “She had knowledge about Javed’s illegal activities before she joined him. However, there is no evidence to indicate that she had any terrorist link herself,” it says. It also suggests there is no evidence to substantiate that Ishrat was part of a terror network as revealed by David Headley, LeT terrorist arrested in US.


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