Gopinath Pillai, who was one of the petitioners in 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case, died in a car accident in Kerala’s Alappuzha district.
According to reports, Pillai met with an accident on Wednesday when when a lorry crashed into his car on National Highway 66 at Vayalar near Cherthala area.
He was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Friday morning.
Pillai was the father of Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai who was killed along with Ishrat Jahan, a19-year-old Mumbai based girl from Mumbra, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar in an alleged fake police encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
The Gujarat Police had claimed they had terror links and had plotted to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi in order to avenge the communal riots of 2002 which had led to the deaths of numerous Muslims.
Pillai, who believed that his son was innocent, fought lengthy legal battles to bring justice to the victims of the alleged fake encounter.
“My son could never be a terrorist,” Gopinath had said earlier. “Pranesh converted not out of love for Islam but because he thought there was no option if he wanted to marry the girl of his choice.”
In 2016, Pillai made some startling revelations to Outlook India.“I remember a head constable telling me, ‘Just go with the statement that your son was a terrorist and there will be no trouble. If you don’t, we’ll catch a terrorist in Kashmir or somewhere and make him say your son was given a huge sum to eliminate Narendra Modi.’ All I can say is, I believe my son was trapped. His call records were examined and there was evidence he had talked to Vanzara for two minutes. When I went to collect his body, one of his arms was hacked at the shoulder and hanging by the skin. They were poisoned and then shot,” he said.
On November 21, 2011, the SIT told the Gujarat High Court that the Ishrat Jahan encounter was not genuine. After the SIT filed its report, the High Court ordered that a complaint under Indian Penal Code Section 302 (murder) has to be filed against those involved in the fake encounter, in which over 20 policemen, including senior IPS officers, were involved.
In the first charge sheet filed by the CBI in 2013, seven Gujarat police officers were named as accused, including IPS officers P P Pandey, DG Vanzara and G L Singhal, facing charges for kidnapping, murder and conspiracy.
However, in February 2018, a special CBI court discharged former Gujarat in-charge DGP P P Pandey.
Special CBI court judge JK Pandya allowed Pandey’s discharge application on the ground that there was no evidence against him related to the kidnapping and murder of Ishrat Jahan and three others.
The CBI, which investigated the case, had accused Pandey, who then headed the Ahmedabad crime branch, as being involved in the alleged fake encounter.
(With ANI Inputs)