New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation is likely to file its first chargesheet in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case on Wednesday. CNN-IBN has learned that neither Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi nor his trusted aide Amit Shah will be named. But what the CBI will say is that Ishrat was killed in cold blood by top Gujarat policemen.
Intelligence Bureau Special Director Rajendra Kumar, who is also in the line of the fire, too is not reportedly named in the chargesheet. Sources have told CNN-IBN that the CBI has decided to play safe and is only focusing on the eight police officers, who allegedly carried out the fake encounter in which Ishrat and three others were killed.
In fact, a day before the CBI files its chargesheet, a twist in the case has surfaced. An affidavit accessed by CNN-IBN and Cobra post reveals that Jammu and Kashmir Police had informed Gujarat Police that they had arrested three terrorists who allegedly had teamed up with Amjad Ali, who was killed in an encounter along with Ishrat, to assassinate Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2004.
The affidavit was filed by ACP Parixita Rathod, investigating officer in the Ishrat Jehan encounter case, before the POTA court in Gujarat. Rathod had stated that Jammu and Kashmir Police had informed the Gujarat Police of arresting three terrorists in 2004 in Srinagar, allegedly involved in a plot to kill Modi.
The affidavit further said that Gujarat police officer ACP Dr NK Amin, already under arrest in the Ishrat case, even interrogated the terrorists in Srinagar jail.
According to the affidavit, the terrorists admitted that they had teamed up with Amjad Ali, who was killed by Gujarat police along with Ishrat Jehan in an encounter on June 15, 2004. The Jammu and Kashmir Police refused to hand over the terrorists to Gujarat Police despite the state getting transfer orders from the POTA court in Gujarat, the affidavit added.
Meanwhile, the controversy over the CBI questioning Rajendra Kumar in the case figured in the consultative meeting of the home ministry on Tuesday with the BJP members stating that she and her associates killed in the incident were members of terror outfit Lashker-e-Toiba. The issue was raised by BJP MPs Vinay Katiyar and Yogi Aditya Nath.
The BJP leaders alleged Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist as her name had figured in the website of LeT. They said Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) move to prosecute Rajendra Kumar could breed ill-feeling among IB officials.
The BJP leaders said politicising the issue was wrong and made veiled reference to party leader Amit Shah being linked to the case. Talking to IANS later, Katiyar said "attempts to implicate IB official in the case were totally wrong". He said Ishrat and her associates were members of LeT. "She went to Faizabad and police is still making investigations about the family with whom she stayed," he said.
With additional information from IANS
Details of the CBI chargesheet accessed by CNN-IBN
The alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat Police in 2003 captured the national imagination and stirred political controversy. Recently, there was speculation that the CBI has credible evidence against the Gujarat Chief Minister and Shah but the CBI chargesheet, which will be filed in the High Court on Thursday, will name no political figure.
Top CBI sources have confirmed to CNN-IBN that the chargesheet will focus on the encounter and not on a wider conspiracy.
Here are the chargeseheet details accessed by CNN-IBN:
- The chargesheet affirms that Ishrat and three others, who were allegedly LeT terrorists, were killed in cold blood in a staged encounter by the Gujarat Police.
- Ishrat was shot in the stomach. The others were also killed in a manner that confirms a fake encounter.
- The eight Gujarat police officers involved in the encounter will be charged with murder. Two of the police officers are already in jail.
- The officers include Gujarat ATS DIG DG Vanzara, DCP NK Amin and Ahmedabad Crime Branch officers GL Singhal, Tarun Barot, JG Parmar, Bharat Patel and Anaju Chaudhary.
The CBI has reportedly claimed that the evidence against Modi and Shah is not enough to name them in the case.
One of the evidence, which has been cited, is an alleged conversation between Vanzara and the IB Special Director where the former reportedly claims that 'white dadhi' (allegedly Modi) and 'black dadhi' (allegedly Shah) have been kept informed and have approved the operation.
Singhal claims to be an eyewitness to Vanzara and Rajendra's conversation. His statement was recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC and makes him a potential witness in the case.
But when asked about Singhal's statement, a CBI officer told CNN-IBN that it is not enough to prove that Modi and Shah were involved in the encounter.
He added that a statement of an accused under Section 164 cannot be used by the CBI to name or chargesheet anyone. He said the CBI will place it before the court and seek more time to investigate the wider conspireacy.
Asked if there was any political pressure to name Modi, the officer said that the CBI knows there is a political angle to this case, but it is not being swayed either way. He said the CBI cannot charge someone without sufficient evidence.
The Congress is keen to use the Ishrat case to target Modi, who is being pitched as a potential prime minister candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. With several Gujarat police officers behind the bars and about 42 encounter cases, mainly involving Muslims, lodged in Gujarat, the state government is under the scanner.
But the BJP claims Modi has no hand in the Ishrat's encounter and alleges that the Congress is using the case to tag Modi as anti-Muslim.