Petitioner in Ishrat Jahan case dies in road accident, probe underway

Pranesh Kumar alias Javed Sheikh was killed along with Ishrat a 19-year-old college girl from Mumbra near Mumbai by Ahmedabad Police’s crime branch in 2004

Gopinatha Pillai, whose son was killed along with Ishrat Jahan in an alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat Police in 2004, died in a road accident in Kerala's Alappuzha on Friday, The Hindu reported.

The police said Pillai's son Pranesh had changed his name to Javed Sheikh to marry a Muslim woman. Pillai, who believed that his son was innocent, fought lengthy legal battles to bring justice to the victims of the alleged fake encounter.

According to New Indian Express report, Pillai, whose son Pranesh Kumar Pillai alias Javed Sheikh was killed along with Ishrat Jahan in the encounter case by Gujarat Police in 2004, met with an accident when a lorry crashed into his auto on National Highway 66 at Vayalar near Cherthala. He was admitted to Amrita hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Friday. "We have identified the lorry which initially collided with the vehicle. However, we're verifying whether one more vehicle was involved", a police source said. The "fake encounter" case became a political hot potato and reportedly saw several cover-up attempts.

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The 78-year-old Pillai, a retired teacher had heaved a sigh of relief after the Special Investigation Team submitted to the Gujarat High Court in 2011 that his son was killed in a fake shootout. "Gopinath's sudden death hints that it is a murder". According to the family members, Pillai passed away in the afternoon at 2 am.

However, in February 2018, a special CBI court discharged former Gujarat in-charge DGP P P Pandey. After this, the case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation. Sheikh was allegedly killed in cold blood along with Ishrat Jahan and two others.

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