Top cop to quit over Ishrat case

Supreme Court allows Gujarat to accept DGP's offer to step down immediately.

New Delhi: The Gujarat state director general of police P.P. Pandey, accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, has offered to step down with immediate effect, following opposition for his posting to the top post, Gujarat government informed the Supreme Court on Monday. The Gujarat government was allowed by the top court to accept the offer of Mr Pandey, a 1980 batch Gujarat-cadre IPS officer who is on extension till April 30, on Monday.

A bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and D.Y. Chandrachud recorded the submission of additional solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, that Mr Pandey had written a letter expressing willingness to step down forthwith if the government so desired. He was granted three months extension till April 30 after he retired on January 31 this year.

The letter said “in order to put an end to all the controversies and to avoid causing any embarassment to the government, I am more than willing to step down and I hereby urge the government to revoke the notification (granting extension) with immediate effect.” The bench, hearing a PIL filed by Julio Francis Ribero, questioning the appointment. The bench recorded that Mr Pandey, in the letter, expressed willingness to step down and said “In view of determination of the state government, we are of the view that the main petition has been rendered infructuous.”

The petitioner brought to the notice of the court the recent affidavit filed by the CBI in a trial court in Gujarat rejecting the stand of Mr Pandey that he had been falsely implicated in the fake encounter case. The CBI said Mr Pandey is one of the conspirators in the fake encounter and there are eyewitnesses to corroborate the role of mr. Pandey in the killing of Ishrat Jahan.

On March 31, the bench had made it clear to the Gujarat government to file its response by today to the PIL questioning the three-month extension to Mr. Pandey, who is out on bail in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.

The CJI had told the ASG Tushar Mehta “either the state government should take a decision on its own or we will give a direction.”

Accordingly, the ASG said Mr Pandey has agreed to step down. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for the petitioner — former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Francis Ribeiro — submitted that Mr Pandey was granted bail, reinstated, promoted and rewarded despite being an accused in a murder case. The Centre’s Appointments Committee of the Cabinet had granted the three-month extension to Pandey, who was to retire on January 31.

The petitioner said Mr Pandey was heading the state crime branch when Ishrat, a 19-year-old girl based in Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar, were killed in an alleged encounter with the police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. The Gujarat police had claimed they had terror links and had plotted to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi.

An SIT constituted by the high court to investigate the case had concluded that it was a fake encounter, following which the HC had transferred the case to CBI.After being released on bail, Pandey was taken back into service in February 2015 and appointed the Director of the state’s Anti Corruption Bureau. On April 16 last year, Pandey was appointed the DGP in-charge of Gujarat.

Next Story