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Ishrat Jahan case: SC stays arrest of absconder Pandey

Ishrat Jahan case: SC stays arrest of absconder Pandey
The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the arrest of absconding Gujarat IPS officer PP Pandey till 29 July, the day on which he has been directed by the apex court to appear before a trial court in Ahmedabad that is hearing the case.

The Gujarat high court had on 1 July dismissed his plea. The high court, while rejecting his plea, had also declared him an absconder in the 2004 fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others. Pandey went missing after the Central Bureau of Investigation registered an FIR against him.

A bench comprising Justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde also made it clear to Pandey’s counsel that the protection from arrest to him will come to an end if he fails to appear before the special CBI court on 29 July. Pandey was heading the Crime Branch as the Joint Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, when Ishrat and three others were killed in an alleged encounter (now declared staged) with the Gujarat police on 15 June 2004.

Pandey’s counsel assured the apex court that he will appear before the concerned court and he should be protected till then. Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising, appearing for the CBI, opposed court’s order for giving any protection to Pandey. She said that Pandey has gone underground and there is no need to give him any protection and that he is an accused. The court, however, granted him interim protection and said that due procedure of law should be followed after Pandey appears before the trial court.
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