Satish Verma, the IPS officer who had assisted the CBI probe into the alleged 2004 fake encounter in Gujarat involving Ishrat Jahan and three others, said on Wednesday that her killing was a "premeditated murder", reports The Indian Express.
"Our investigation has found that Ishrat along with three others had been picked by IB (Intelligence Bureau) days before the encounter. In fact, there was no intelligence input with the IB that a woman would be accompanying the alleged terrorists. There was no input on Ishrat. These people were kept in illegal custody and then shot dead," said Verma.
Verma had been a member of the special investigation team appointed by the Gujarat High Court in the case.
Ishrat Jahan and three men were killed in a police encounter in Ahmedabad on 15 June, 2004, apparently because they were members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group.
Former home secretary GK Pillai had said last week that this group had been lured by the Intelligence Bureau to Gujarat.
"What is happening here is that this bogey of nationalism and security is being raised to discredit a poor and innocent girl so that an environment can be created for a favourable outcome for those involved in this crime," said Verma, an IG-rank officer currently posted as Chief Vigilance Officer of the NEEPCO in Shillong. "The Home Ministry has refused sanctions to prosecute IB officers even though courts have held that in fake encounters, there is no requirement for sanction."
He added that Ishrat could not possibly be an LeT terrorist because she had not spent enough time with Javed Sheikh, one of the three men in the group, to be trained as an operative and suicide bomber. Ishrat had spent only 10 days away from her home after coming into contact with Sheikh.
Verma said Pillai could not know the exact details of the case because "he was no intelligence officer".
He also said that he had not tortured former home ministry under-secretary RVS Mani to make him file the second affidavit in the case, the one that removed references to Ishrat and her companions as terrorists.
In 2009, Mani filed the two affidavits for the Union Home Ministry in the Gujarat High Court. "Mr Mani had no direct knowledge of the case," said Verma.