For the first time, an investigator who was on the CBI team probing the Ishrat Jahan encounter case has broken his silence, claiming that the nineteen-year-old girl from Mumbra and three others were 'murdered' in 'cold blood' by the Gujarat Police in 2004.
“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,” Satish Verma told Indian Express.
Verma's statements come at a time when the BJP is targeting Congress over former home secretary GK Pillai's claims that P Chidambaram had tampered with the affidavit on the case to target the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. According to Pillai, the original affidavit said that Ishrat was a LeT operative and hence there was no need of a CBI probe into the encounter, giving a clean chit to the Gujarat officers.
Satish Verma however claimed that there is no proof to indicate that Ishrat was a LeT operative and received training to be a suicide bomber. According to Verma, Ishrat was away from her home for only ten days and that it is not enough for any kind of training whatsoever. “Even properly firing a 303 rifle takes 15 days... we have noted all the time she spent away from home and it was not enough to be trained as a fidayeen,” he said.
Verma also slammed the claims made RVS Mani, the official who had drafted the affidavits in the case. Mani had claimed that Verma had tortured him to implicate IB officers, however, Verma said that both G K Pillai and RVS Mani are not investigators and hence are not credible sources of information on the case. Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter with Gujarat Police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.