Top cop arrives in court on stretcher; gets relief

Special CBI judge Gita Gopi granted Pandey, who had filed pre-arrest bail plea, temporary relief and asked him to appear before Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate H S Khutwad, where charge sheet has been filed, on Wednesday. 

The Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) rank officer had been absconding since February after his name surfaced in the 2004 encounter case. Earlier in the day, Pandey, who was last week directed by the Supreme Court to appear before the trial court today, got himself admitted to a private hospital here after complaining of chest pain.

Later, he was brought to the court in an ambulance and taken before the judge on a stretcher. Pandey's lawyer Nirupam Nanavati submitted a note, saying his client has appeared in the court on the apex court's direction.

Pandey was namedin the CBI charge sheet for the alleged extra-judicial killing of Mumbai teenager Ishrat, her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, and Amjad Ali Rana and Jishan Johar, said to be Pakistani nationals.

Besides Pandey, six other Gujarat policemen figure in the charge sheet filed on July 3. All the accused have been charged with murder and criminal conspiracy. The central agency, investigating the case, has in the document claimed the encounter was "fake" and jointly carried out by Gujarat Police with Intelligence Bureau.

The magistrate's court, while declaring Pandey as a proclaimed absconder last month, had told him to appear before it by July 31 or else his properties would be attached. Pandey, in the meantime, had approached Gujarat High Court and also Supreme Court, which declined to give him any major relief.  

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