Ishrat Jahan killing: Pandey's anticipatory bail plea dismissed

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) The "Supreme Court has become a safe haven for the criminals", the top court said Monday while dismissing the anticipatory bail plea of Gujarat police officer P.P. Pandey, who has been named an accused in the alleged staged shootout in which college girl Ishrat Jahan and her three associates were killed.

An apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice S.A. Bobde, while dismissing Additional Director General of Police Pandey's plea, said: "You are an absconder earlier also. Your conduct makes you disentitled to anticipatory bail."

As senior counsel Jaspal Singh, appearing for Pandey, sought to make a point, Justice Chauhan said: "I can say it on oath that we are not devoting even five percent of our time for the common man. It is senior counsel and criminals who take up most of the time."

The "Supreme Court has become a safe haven for the criminals", said Justice Chauhan.

He said a matter concerning a common man waits for 30 years "and we have no time to hear them".

The court expressed its anguish as Jaspal Singh pressed for anticipatory bail for his client.

Jaspal Singh assailed the trial court decision to reject Pandey's plea for anticipatory bail holding that he might be required for custodial interrogation.

"If you have been absconding earlier, how can your submission be accepted," Justice Chauhan told Jaspal Singh.

"How do sons, daughter and wife come into picture in a service matter," Justice Chauhan asked when he was told that summons were not served on Pandey and were received at his home.

Justice Chauhan brushed aside Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising's submission that Pandey was an absconder and untraceable.

"Why you say he is untraceable. You are a mighty union of India," said Justice Chauhan.

Mumbai college girl Ishrat Jahan and her three associates - Pranesh Gopinath Pilai, Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar - were killed by Gujarat Police in an allegedly staged shootout June 15, 2004. Gujarat Police described them as Pakistani fidayeens who came from Jammu and Kashmir to assassinate Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

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