File image of the CBI headquarters
A special CBI court in Ahmedabad on March 31 discharged the last three police officials accused in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
The CBI court dropped the proceedings against IPS officer GL Singhal, retired police officer Tarun Barot, and Anaju Chaudhari.
"It is clear that the act which is alleged to have been done by the accused was in discharge of their duties or purported to be in discharge of their duties," the court noted, as quoted by legal news website LiveLaw.
"Number of anti-national & terrorist activates were spread all over India, more particularly in Gujarat. Being high rank police officers, it was their duty to take necessary steps. There is no question of any fake encounter on part of any such police officer," the court said.
The court also said there is no evidence to suggest that the victims were not terrorists.
"There is nothing on record even prima facie to suggest that the victims were not terrorists, the I.B. inputs were not genuine."
The accused had sought discharge based on the state government's refusal to grant sanction to prosecute them.
Ishrat Jahan, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were killed in an alleged fake encounter by the police in June 2004. The incident had taken place at the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
The Ahmedabad City Detection of Crime Branch claimed that the four were operatives of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and were out to kill Narendra Modi, who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The CBI's chargesheet in 2013 had named seven police officials - PP Pandey, DG Vanzara, NK Amin, JG Parmar, Singhal, Barot and Chaudhari.
The policemen were charged with murder, abduction, and destruction of evidence.
The CBI had not appealed against the discharges of the Vanzara, Amin, and Pandey. Parmar had passed away during the course of the hearing.