In A reprieve for police officer Satish Verma, who had assisted the CBI in its investigation into the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter, the Supreme Court Friday stayed his arrest for two alleged fake encounter killings and a custodial death in Porbandar in 1997-98.
Admitting his plea for stay on his arrest and recall of orders for investigating his alleged role in the extrajudicial killings, a bench of Justices A K Patnaik and J S Khehar sought responses from the complainants and the Gujarat government.
The bench, however, made it clear that the investigation into the matter shall proceed as per the contentions of the complainant.
The cases dates to 1997-98 when a plea was moved in the high court, alleging that three men — Gagan Shial, Aher Ranmal Ram and Aher Narayan Jesti Bandhiya — had been killed in an extrajudicial manner when Verma was SP of Porbandar.
Jasu and Ram were killed in a staged encounter after being arrested by the Kutiyana police, the plea alleged, while Bandhiya’s body was found hanging from a tree near the police station.
The police had claimed Bandhiya committed suicide after escaping from lock up. The high court had then directed the Special IG of CID, Crime, to investigate the killings.
Then, last year, Shial’s brother Hiralal moved the high court and contended that no action had been taken in the matter, so a fresh direction was required. In April 2012, the court ordered the additional DGP, Law & Order, to investigate the case.
Verma challenged this order before the SC but to no avail. The SC dismissed his petition but told him he could approach the HC with whatever material he had.
The, HC, however refused him relief and ordered the state government to submit the probe report by October 22. It had also refused to stay Verma’s possible arrest, prompting him to move the apex court.