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 based 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 (Monday, September 19).
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 to either 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 charges included interacting “with public media” when he was chief vigilance officer of the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation, Shillong.
Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year-old woman from Mumbra near Mumbai, was killed along with Javed Shaikh (alias Pranesh Pillai), Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar by Gujarat Police in an ‘encounter’ near Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. The police had said that the four were terrorists who were planning to assassinate then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. However, a High Court-appointed special investigation team concluded that the encounter was fake.