Ishrat encounter: Gujarat HC appoints new SIT chief

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday appointed Rajiv Ranjan Verma, a Bihar cadre IPS officer, as the fourth chief of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Ishrat Jahan encounter, while coming down heavily on the Centre for adopting a "causal approach" in the case.

The court appointed J V Ramudu, an Andhra Pradesh cadre IPS officer, to the post on Friday, after the Centre assured the court that his consent has been taken for the job.

However, Ramudu refused to take up the job due to health reasons and informed the court that his consent in the matter was not sought.

The Centre today through Assistant Solicitor General Pankaj Champanari moved an application in the court of Justice Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari, giving updates on Ramudu`s denial and suggested new names for his replacement.

Besides Verma, the names of R C Arora of Madhya Pradesh cadre and Vivek Dubey of Andhra Pradesh cadre were suggested.

The Centre this time made a categorical statement in its application that Verma, who is presently posted as Additional Director General with the CISF, is willing to take up the job.

It also submitted related documents and communications with the officers in the court.

Coming down heavily on the Centre, the court said that the Government of India should have been aware of Ramudu`s ill health before suggesting his name.

"Do not make a mockery of proceedings in the case," the court said adding that the approach of the Union government was very casual.

The court also ordered the secretary and joint secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs to submit an affidavit in the court before August 4 to explain the suggestion of Ramudu`s name.