New Delhi: Even as Intelligence Bureau officer Rajendra Kumar has not been named in the first chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case of 2004, the Central Bureau of Investigation has said that he is coming in the picture and there is evidence against him too. Speaking to CNN-IBN, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha said, "The role of the then IB station head is coming into picture and we have evidence."
"If the IB wants to absolve itself from the responsibility of killing, it is free to get a court order," Sinha added.
Taking a strong stand, Sinha also said that even if Ishrat was involved in terror activities, no one had the right to kill her. "Nowhere in the country does the law say that if intelligence suggests someone is involved in terror activities, security or intelligence agencies can kill them," Sinha said.
He also said the investigation in the Ishrat Jahan case was being carried out as per the directions of the Gujarat High Court. "The Ishrat Jahan investigation is on as per the directions of the Gujarat High Court. We have clear directions to find out the basis including the genesis of intelligence on which she was killed," Sinha said.
In its first chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, the CBI said the 19-year-old girl along with three others - Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar - was killed in cold blood by the Gujarat Police on June 15, 2004.
The CBI also told a court in Ahmedabad that the agency has evidence to prove that the four were illegally detained and kept in confinement. It added that Ishrat and the three others were tranquilized before being killed.
The chargesheet, however, remained silent on whether the four were terrorists. The Gujarat Police had claimed that Ishrat and three others were a part of a Lashkar-e-Toiba module which was planning to assassinate state Chief Minister Narendra Modi. But the CBI made it clear that it has found no evidence which can establish that they had come to Gujarat to kill Modi.
The investigative agency named eight Gujarat police officers including absconding Additional DGP PP Pandey, suspended DIG DG Vanzara, suspended IPS officer GL Singhal charging them with criminal conspiracy, abduction, wrongful confinement and murder. "The encounter was a joint operation between Gujarat Police and Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) of the state," the CBI said in the chargesheet, adding "the encounter was fake".
The CBI said Vanzara and other Gujarat police officers collected weapons from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) office and then planted them on Ishrat and others. The chargesheet says on Vanzara's instructions, suspended Singhal went to the IB office on June 14 and collected a bag of weapons used in the encounter.
According to the CBI, IB officer Rajinder Kumar was heading state investigation bureau during the period when the encounter was carried out. But he has not been named in the chargesheet. Investigation is going on against four Intelligence Bureau officers, including its Special Director Rajendra Kumar, and three other officers - P Mittal, MK Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede, it said.
A supplementary chargesheet would be filed against IB officers once the investigation was over, the court was told by the CBI. The investigative agency also told the court that Gujarat Police officers were deployed in different places in the name of nakabandi (pickets) in Ahmedabad to manage the encounter.
But the biggest relief came for the Gujarat Chief Minister and his aide Amit Shah as the CBI has not named them in its chargesheet. The CBI chargesheet also said that Kumar and Pandey interacted with Ishrat and Javed at Khodiyar farm a few days before the encounter which conclusively proves that she was abducted by Gujarat Police officers NK Amin and Tarun Barot from Vasad toll booth.