Friday, June 29, 2012


Gujarat High Court on Friday pulled up the state government for issuing a directive to register an offence against senior IPS officer and former SIT member Satish Verma for seizing a hard disk from Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) and continuing with an enquiry against him in the fake encounter case of Mumbai college girl Ishrat Jahan.
    The court also asked the state government to file a reply for not sparing Verma to assist CBI despite the investigation agency seeking his help in the encounter case. Verma was one of the member of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Ishrat encounter case.
    Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had stayed the investigation against Verma in Porbandar custodial death case.
    A high court division bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice Abhilasha Kumari stayed the investigation against Verma after he moved the court against the orders issued by Minister of State for Home Praful Patel to register an offence against him for the seizure of the hard disk from the FSL in Meghaninagar.
They said, “It is highly improper to continue the investigation despite the investigation being handed over to a central agency. Instead you should have come to this court before initiating any procedure in this FIR against any former members of the SIT.”

    Last year, Verma, along with SIT officer V R Toliya, had visited the FSL office and as part of the probe in the encounter case, seized a hard disk from the laboratory’s Assistant Director B K Mistry. Mistry had filed a complaint against SIT officials.
    During the proceedings, the bench also pointed out that on December 1, 2011, while transferring the investigation to CBI, the court had specifically refrained the state government from taking any action against any members of SIT without prior approval of the court.
    Verma, who appeared as a party-inperson in the case, had a balanced approach while making his submissions. In his application, he has alleged that these are the systematic and wilful acts of the state government with ulterior designs of influencing the investigations in Ishrat encounter case, by pretending to inquire into a false and coerced complaint.
    Citing the high court’s order, he further alleged that in spite of the court refraining the state from investigation, an inquiry was entrusted to Vadodara Commissioner of Police Rakesh Asthana. A little agitated Verma also submitted that Asthana continued his inquiry even after he was transferred from Vadodara to Surat as the commissioner of police. The application also read that Asthana had proposed to examine Toliya on June 5.
Verma alleged, “It seems that there was a collusive meeting of mind between the state government and Asthana before Asthana was chosen for this unauthorised inquiry.”

    The bench also asked the state government to file a reply for not sparing Verma despite the CBI seeking his help in the case. On June 8, the CBI had sought for Verma’s services for six months to assist it in the inquiry of the fake encounter of Ishrat and three others. The request was made by the agency with regards to the order passed by the court. While transferring the investigation to CBI, the court had stated that the central agency can seek Verma’s help if need be. Verma has requested the court to get the inquiry being conducted by Asthana to be quashed and sought action against all those who are responsible in overreaching the court orders.
    Shamima Kausar, Ishrat’s mother had approached the court seeking CBI inquiry in the alleged encounter of the Mumbai college girl. The high court had formed a three-member SIT to verify whether the encounter was genuine or fake. The SIT after investigation had concluded that the encounter was fake. Later the high court had handed over the investigation of the encounter case to CBI.