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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

SC stays dismissal of crooked IPS cop Satish Verma who claimed LeT terrorist Ishrat Jahan was ‘innocent’

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed, for a week, the Central government’s decision to dismiss senior IPS officer Satish Chandra Verma, who had assisted the CBI in its probe in the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat.

A bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy directed Verma to take appropriate steps to amend the petition pending before the Delhi High Court to challenge the dismissal order.

Verma was dismissed from service on August 30, ahead of his superannuation on September 30.

He had probed the 2004 Ishrat Jahan case between April 2010 and October 2011 and on his investigation report, a special investigation team held it was a ‘fake encounter’.

The top court said it is for the high court to examine whether the stay or vacation of dismissal order is to continue, as it allowed Verma to move the high court to challenge his dismissal.

The bench said the interests of justice would require that the order passed by the respondent dismissing the appellant is not to be implemented till one week from today. It added that it is for the high court to consider whether order of stay of implementation of order passed by disciplinary authority should continue beyond a period of one week.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Verma, argued that the high court had been passing orders on his plea from time to time, and has now posted the case for January 2023. He said his client’s petition is getting infructuous, and asked the bench either to transfer the case to the apex court for hearing, or ask the HC to advance the hearing.

Verma had approached the apex court after the high court allowed the Home Ministry to take action against him in view of a departmental inquiry, which proved the charges against him. The four charges included: interacting with public media without authorization and misusing official premises for the same; making comments in media that amount to adverse criticism of action of the Central government and the State government in the matter of encounter of a terrorist; communicating official information without any general or special order of the government.

Verma is also facing probes in Gujarat for his involvement in false encounter cases, and for remaining absent from duty when he was principal of Police Training College in Junagadh. In 2016, Verma had claimed his tenure at the power corporation was curtailed as he had uncovered a ‘transportation scam’.

How an LeT terrorist became an ‘innocent martyr’ during the UPA era

Verma was a nominee of Ishrat Jahan’s mother in the Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed by Gujarat High Court to probe the encounter of Ishrat. Verma was later made part of the CBI team which was entrusted with the case by Gujarat High Court bench comprising Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari after SIT submitted its report. Abhilasha Kumari is daughter of Congress leader & ex-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh.

Verma claimed that Ishrat Jehan killing was ‘premeditated murder’ and differed with his fellow SIT panelists and Intelligence Bureau (IB) who said that Ishrat was a Lashkar-e-Taiba cadre and fidayeen (suicide bomber). In 2009, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) filed an affidavit before the Gujarat High Court stating that Ishrat Jahan had links with LeT. However, a revised affidavit was filed within a month at the behest of then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, in which all references to Ishrat’s terror links were missing. In March 2016, former home secretary GK Pillai revealed how P Chidambaram had bypassed him and got the affidavit on Ishrat Jehan changed.

LeT terrorist and suspected FBI/CIA double agent David Headley, who had carried out reconnaissance for the 26/11 attacks, also told Bharat’s investigators and courts in two separate statements that Ishrat Jehan was indeed a a LeT fidayeen. You can read all about the Congress plot to entrap then Gujarat CM Modi in the Ishrat Jehan case in this HinduPost article.

Ex-IAS officer R V S Mani has claimed that Verma, then a member of the CBI-SIT team probing the Ishrat Jehan encounter, accused incumbent governments of “orchestrating” the terror attack on Parliament and the 26/11 carnage in Mumbai, with the objective of strengthening counter-terror legislation. Mani also claimed that Verma tortured him to engineer evidence in favor of Ishrat.

In March 2021, a CBI court said “Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist, no evidence of otherwise” while discharging the last three cops accused of ‘fake encounter’.

Almost all English-language mainstream media is reporting the SC’s stay of Verma’s dismissal as a win for a “brave officer speaking truth to power”, hiding Verma’s shameful role in passing off an LeT suicide bomber as an ‘innocent victim’.

(With IANS inputs)

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