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The Ishrat Jahan encounter case is an ongoing criminal case in the Gujarat state of India, in which the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) initially accused officers of the Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch and members of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) of Ahmedabad of jointly having carried out a staged "encounter killing" by shooting dead four people on 15 June 2004.
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Ishrat Jahan case
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The Ishrat Jahan encounter case is an ongoing criminal case in the Gujarat state of India, in which the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) initially accused officers of the Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch and members of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) of Ahmedabad of jointly having carried out a staged "encounter killing" by shooting dead four people on 15 June 2004. Several officials associated with the case, including those from Home Ministry and Intelligence Bureau, later accused the then UPA government of changing an affidavit for political gains. Following latest developments, Supreme Court has decided to hear plea for quashing action against Gujarat police. Those killed in the incident were Ishrat Jahan Raza, a 19-year-old terrorist from Mumbra, Maharashtra, and three men – Javed Ghulam Sheikh (born Pranesh Pillai), Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar. The police claimed that Ishrat Jahan and her associates were Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives involved in a terroristic plot to assassinate the Chief Minister of Gujarat at that time Narendra Modi. Though refuted by several human right activists and questioned by CBI, these claims have gained credence after revelations by several officials associated with this case. David Headley, a Pakistani-American terrorist who had collaborated with the LeT, later said that Ishrat Jahan was an operative of the LeT. But when he was deposing via video conferencing from the U.S. before Judge G.A. Sanap in the 26/11 trial against Abu Jundal, David Coleman Headley told the court that he didn't have any first hand knowledge about Ishrat Jahan who was killed in a police encounter.Later, David Coleman Headley claimed that LeT commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi had told him about Ishrat Jahan ‘operation’ though he had also learnt about the case through the media. After the incident, an investigation was launched based on allegations that the description of the incident by the police was false and the killings were deliberate and unlawful. The police team involved in the incident had been led by DIG D.G. Vanjara, an officer who spent eight years in jail for his alleged involvement in the extrajudicial killing of a criminal gangster, Sohrabuddin Sheikh. Five years later, in 2009, an Ahmedabad Metropolitan court ruled that the encounter was staged. The decision was challenged by the state government and taken to the Gujarat High Court. After further investigation, in 2011, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) told the High Court that the encounter was not genuine, and the victims were killed prior to the date of the staged encounter. On 3 July 2013, the CBI filed its first chargesheet in an Ahmedabad court saying that the shooting was a staged encounter carried out in cold blood. Although the question of whether the killings were an illegal staged event or not is separate from whether the people who were killed were working for the LeT, the family of Ishrat Jahan and several politicians and activists have maintained that she was innocent, and that question has continued to be disputed. The CBI declared that the encounter was staged, but did not comment on whether Ishrat Jahan was an LeT associate or not. In July 2004, Indian media carried reports that the Lashkar-e-Taiba had published an article on the Jamaat-ud-Dawah's website claiming Ishrat Jahan as their operative. The Jamaat-ud-Dawah issued a denial, stating that they had no knowledge whatsoever of Ishrat Jahan, and that they had merely been summarising Indian media stories about the encounter in the weekly news round-up section of their website. In May 2007, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah apologised to Indian Muslims, and to the family of Ishrat Jahan, for the trouble caused by their summarisation of Indian news coverage of the encounter. Indian media coverage of this apology presented it as being for the alleged statement that Ishrat had been a Lashkar operative. In its August 2009 affidavit to the High Court of Gujarat, the Government of India used the July 2004 stories in Indian media (that the Lashkar-e-Taiba had claimed Ishrat) as evidence that Ishrat Jahan was an LeT activist. The government used Indian media coverage of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah's apology as further proof that Ishrat Jahan had been actively associated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba, stating that the apology had been issued as a "tactical move to discredit Indian agencies". In 2010, some media outlets reported that the convicted terrorist David Headley had implicated Ishrat in terrorist activities in a statement given to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). However, the NIA called these reports "baseless", and the CBI said that this assertion was fabricated by the IPS officer Rajendra Kumar, who is one of the suspects in the case. In June 2013, the Intelligence Bureau chief Asif Ibrahim told the Office of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of India that the Bureau had enough evidence to prove that Ishrat was a part of an LeT module which planned to kill Narendra Modi and the former Deputy Prime Minister of India, Lal Krishna Advani. In February 2016, Headley testified before a Mumbai court, via video from the US, that Ishrat Jahan was a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba. Later in March 2016, he claimed that he had told NIA that about Jahan. However, he denied that Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi had told him about her, adding that he had no personal knowledge about her. He also stated that he came to know about her from the media.
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