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‘Modi, Shah probably knew of encounter beforehand’

The CBI believes Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and the then home minister Amit Shah probably knew beforehand that alleged Lashkar members Ishrat Jahan and three others would be killed in a police encounter.

According to news reports the CBI said a police officer heard D.G. Vanzara, then the Gujarat DIG, allegedly telling Rajinder Kumar, an IB officer, that safed dadhi (grey beard) and kaali dadhi (black beard) had okayed the plan to kill Ishrat and three others.  The CBI thinks Vanzara’s ‘grey beard’ and ‘black beard’ were code words for Modi and Shah.

The CBI also says that Vanzara allegedly spoke to Shah twice hours before the encounter and a day after it.

Vanzara is currently in jail for his role in the encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and wife Kauserbi in 2005.  Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in 2004. Police claimed they were members of terror outfit LeT and were on a mission to kill Modi.  Modi meanwhile said Cong was pitting CBI and IB against one another in the case.

The CBI earlier questioned Rajinder Kumar on his alleged role in the case. Gujarat HC reserved till 1 July its order on a petition by top Gujarat police officer P P Pandey seeking quashing of an FIR filed against him in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case even as the CBI described him as the ‘mastermind’ of the 2004 episode.
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