A special CBI court in Ahmedabad today directed the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM), CBI to issue an arrest warrant against Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) P P Pande, who was allegedly involved in the 2004 fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three of her accomplices.
Special CBI Judge Gita Gopi agreed with the CBI's plea and directed additional chief judicial magistrate to issue an arrest warrant against Pande, who, CBI says, has gone underground and is being protected by the state government.
Last week, CBI investigating officer in the encounter case DSP G Kalaimani had filed a revision application challenging 25 April the order of the ACJM of the CBI court, which had rejected CBI's demand for the issuance of arrest warrant against DGP (Crime) Pande.
CBI, in its revision petition, had sought issuance of arrest warrant against Pande under section 73 of the CrPC.
During the hearing, counsel for the CBI had told the court that they had issued two summons - on 22 and 24 April, respectively, to Pande, to which it had not responded.
When CBI went to his Ahmedabad residence, his son refused to give information about Pande's whereabouts and his official mobile phone was also not reachable, the counsel informed the court.
CBI wanted to interrogate Pande in connection with the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, but was not able to do so because the officer was not traceable. Therefore, it had approached the court seeking issuance of arrest warrant for Pande.
Pande, a 1980 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, was Joint Police Commissioner of Ahmedabad crime branch, when on 15 June 2004, Ishrat Jahan along with Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in a police encounter on the outskirts of the city. After the encounter, the crime branch officials had claimed that the four were terrorists and had come to Gujarat with a plan to assassinate chief minister Narendra Modi.
In December 2011 the Gujarat High Court handed over the investigation in the encounter to CBI after a special investigation team appointed by it concluded that the killing of Ishrat and three others was stage managed by Gujarat police. As many as five cops have been arrested so far in the case by the CBI.