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RDX landing case: No relief for Satish Verma

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court, at least for the time being, refused to grant any relief to the State cadre IPS officer, Satish Verma, from departmental inquiry into the allegation of letting off a key accused in the Gosabara RDX landing case of 1993, the explosives later found to have been used in the Mumbai serial bomb blasts.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice S. J. Mukhopadhyaya and Justice J. B. Pardiwala refused to intervene, stating that the court could not stop the hands of the disciplinary authorities. However, on plea of Mr. Verma's advocate Mihir Joshi, the Bench suggested that there could be an independent investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the allegations against the IPS officer at a later stage, if necessary.

The Bench disagreed with Mr. Joshi's submissions of “State's malice against Mr. Verma,” stating that the State was always presumed to have no malice against anyone unless proved otherwise.

Mr. Verma, who is a member of the High Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case, was facing the government axe along with two other senior police officers on the charge of showing negligence in the RDX case 18 years ago.

The counsel contended that Mr. Verma might be targeted by the State government as he acted tough in the Ishrat Jahan probe going to the extent of preparing to file FIR against some senior police officers allegedly involved in the fake encounter case.

The Division Bench, which was hearing the RDX landing case, had on April 28, allowed the State government to act upon a report prepared by Pramod Kumar, the additional director general of police (administration), regarding the roles of IPS officers Satish Verma and Atul Karval, and police inspector Sukhdevsinh Zala, in accordance with the law. Mr. Verma, Mr. Karval and Mr. Zala were accused of letting off one Sattar Maulana, a key accused of the Gosabara arm landing case, when they were posted at Porbandar in 1993.

The government had entrusted the investigation to Mr. Kumar following a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a former Bharatiya Janata Party member of the State Assembly and senior advocate in the High Court, Yatin Oza, seeking actions against the officers as they acted against national integrity and security.

Mr. Verma had sought the High Court's protection accusing the State government of changing its stand on the issue after he was appointed a member of the Ishrat Jahan SIT by the High Court.

He had pointed out that in 2005, when Mr. Oza had filed the PIL and subsequently a petition in the Supreme Court, the State government had taken a stand that Mr. Oza's petition was not of public interest, but of personal vengeance and vendetta. But now the State was maintaining a studied silence on the issue, he claimed.

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