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UC chairman shot JST leader in ambulance, driver tells police

Updated April 10, 2019

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Police on Tuesday told the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts in Karachi that a union council chairman shot a local leader of the Jeay Sindh Tehreek in the head for a fifth time when he was being taken to hospital in an ambulance. — AFP/File
Police on Tuesday told the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts in Karachi that a union council chairman shot a local leader of the Jeay Sindh Tehreek in the head for a fifth time when he was being taken to hospital in an ambulance. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Police on Tuesday told the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts in Karachi that a union council chairman shot a local leader of the Jeay Sindh Tehreek in the head for a fifth time when he was being taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Read: Irshad Ranjhani case: Police arrest UC chairman for denying medical assistance to injured 'mugger'

However, the investigating officer of the case had removed, but later incorporated on the instruction of a deputy prosecutor general a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act in the charge sheet and placed it before the court.

The police claimed that the UC chairman, Abdul Raheem Shah, acted in self-defence since JST leader Irshad Ranjhani along with his accomplices attempted to rob him.

The IO files a charge sheet in court concluding that Irshad Ranjhani tried to rob the UC chairman

The IO did not charge-sheet a DSP and a sub-inspector for what he said was lack of evidence.

Initially, police said that Ranjhani was killed by the UC chairman on Feb 7 in Malir in a mugging incident. One of Ranjhani’s brothers said that he sustained five bullet wounds and was left to die by the UC chairman and police as he was not shifted to hospital.

The IO, Inspector Imdad Ali Khawaja, submitted the charge sheet before the administrative judge of ATCs, Karachi stating that two FIRs of the incidents were lodged — first on the complaint of the UC chairman and the second on behalf of the deceased’s brother Khalid Ranjhani.

A two-judge bench of the Sindh High Court had directed the head of a joint investigation team/special investigation team to look into both the cases and decide which version was correct for investigation.

After hearing both sides, the JIT decided to conduct investigations on the basis of the first FIR and the second was to be cancelled, it added.

Police had booked the UC chairman for the offence of manslaughter and SI Riaz Hussain Amur for taking the victim to a police station instead of shifting him to a hospital.

But, a judicial magistrate (Malir) observed that the incident came within the ambit of the ATA and referred the matter to administrative judge of ATCs. Later, the police incorporated Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of the ATA in the case.

The charge sheet said that the deceased along with his accomplices opened fire at the vehicle of the UC chairman in order to rob him and sustained injuries when Raheem Shah returned fire.

It further said that Khalid Ranjhani, a brother of deceased, approached the IO and demanded another autopsy as he said pictures and video clips of his injured brother taken at the Shah Latif police station showed no injury on the face, but when they got the body there was a bullet wound on the face.

The IO sent the pictures and video clips for analysis. The investigation took a new turn when an ambulance driver of the Edhi Foundation turned up before the IO and recorded his statement.

The charge sheet said that as per the statement of the driver, he put injured Ranjhani in the ambulance from the crime scene, took him to the Shah Latif police station and kept waiting for 10 to 15 minutes to get instruction from the police to shift the injured to a hospital and in the meantime he saw Raheem Shah talking to SI Ali Gohar.

The driver told the IO that after 15 to 20 minutes, police asked him to take the injured to the hospital and SI Gohar and Constable Altaf Hussain also boarded the ambulance while Raheem Shah along with an unknown man was following the ambulance on a motorcycle.

Raheem Shah, who was carrying a pistol, intercepted the ambulance and asked the driver not to look back and briefly talked to SI Gohar, the driver said in his statement.

There was a sound as the back door of the ambulance was opened and suddenly he heard a shot and the scream of the wounded person, the driver said.

However, SI Gohar asked the driver to keep quiet and move towards the hospital as Raheem Shah with his accomplice escaped on a motorcycle. The driver took the ambulance to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, the charge sheet said.

However, police said in the investigation report that the offence did not fall within the ambit of Sections 6 and 7 of the ATA as it was established that Ranjhani with his three unknown accomplices attempted to rob the UC chairman as he withdrew cash from a bank and he opened fire in self-defence.

The IO charge sheeted Raheem Shah, SI Gohar and constable Altaf for the offence under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender) and 34 (commission intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

But, the IO said in the investigation report that sufficient evidence was not available against DSP Shaukat Ali Shahani, SI Riaz and Hasan Ali Shah, son of the UC chairman, in order to name them as accused.

The charge sheet further said that since the Indus Highway was a busy thoroughfare, SI Riaz could not fulfil his duty in time, adding that DSP Shahani in his statement to the IO said he saw an injured person in the ambulance on the premises of the Shah Latif police station and directed duty officer SI Gohar to shift him to a hospital immediately.

The IO said that three unknown accomplices of the deceased and one suspected associate of suspect Raheem Shah were still at large, but he could not name them as absconders for want of their names and addresses.

Deputy Prosecutor General Abdul Qadeer Memon in his scrutiny note said that the IO had deleted Section 7 of the ATA from the case in violation of the procedural law as the magistrate had invoked the same section and his order remained unchallenged.

He also questioned the IO for dropping the names of two police officers without any cogent reasons and asked the IO to remove the defects from the investigation report.

In light of the scrutiny note, the IO incorporated Section 7 of the ATA in the charge sheet before placing it in court.

After accepting the charge sheet, the administrative judge sent the case to ATC-18 for trial.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2019