The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed an affidavit opposing the discharge pleas of two policemen accused in the Sadiq Jamal Mehtar encounter case. The affidavit states that the accused cops can’t claim relief as they allegedly “conspired, kept in illegal confinement and eventually killed the Bhavnagar youth in cold blood.”
Sadiq was accused of planning to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi, among other saffron leaders, to avenge 2002 riots. CBI probe found that he was killed in a fake encounter in Ahmedabad on January 13, 2003, by a team of eight policemen including J G Parmar, I A Saiyed, K M Vaghela, R L Mavani, G H Gohil, Ajaypal Yadav and Chhatarsinh Chudasama.
The affidavits were filed in response to discharge pleas filed by accused policemen Mavani and Yadav.
The two accused cops have sought discharge on various grounds including the absence of any government sanction for prosecution under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which mandates prior approval for prosecuting government servants.
The CBI reply states, “Had Sadiq been killed in a crossfire in self-defence, accused persons would have been entitled for sanction for prosecution u/s 197 of CrPC. However, in this case, as per the report of investigation, it was not killing in self-defence but in a cold blood.”
“Facts constitute offences punishable u/s 120-B r/w (read with) 302 of IPC. Hence, the accused persons are not entitled to protection.” The agency added that because the criminal conspiracy to kill anyone in such manner is neither official duty nor purported official duty.
“In other words, there exists no nexus between acts and duty so as to attract Section 197 of CrPC,” it said.
The CBI, however, despite taking such stand on record chose to seek prosecution sanction from the Gujarat government in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case after the special trial court asked the agency whether it would want to seek such permission or not. The CBI is facing a similar situation after the court rejected discharge pleas of four remaining accused policemen in Ishrat case including IPS officer G L Singhal while asking the agency to seek sanction from the government.