The Ishrat Jahan fake encounter controversy heated up on Saturday with the home ministry (MHA) expressing its doubts about the CBI’s case against Intelligence Bureau (IB) special director Rajender Kumar.
Based on its probe, the CBI wants to charge Kumar with conspiracy and murder along with more than a dozen Gujarat police officials. This has become a bone of contention between the CBI and IB, leading to the government’s intervention.
The MHA came into the picture after the PMO asked it to look into the matter after the IB chief had complained about CBI’s attempts to book Kumar.
According to sources in the MHA, the CBI has not been able to collect evidence that could link Kumar to conspiracy and murder in this case.
The source said the evidence collected by the CBI only indicated that Kumar was in the loop. “There is no evidence to show that he conspired to murder the four,” the source said.
The development comes barely days before the CBI was expected to file its charge sheet in an Ahmedabad court on the case.
Meanwhile, the Congress and the BJP are engaged in a no-holds-bar war of words about the 2004 alleged fake encounter in Gujarat, in which 19 year-old Jahan and three others were gunned by the Gujarat police on suspicion of being Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives.
The Congress asked why the BJP is afraid if it was “clean”.
“People, who are not guilty... should not be worried... If they (BJP) are clean, why are they afraid of the probe?” asked Congress spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das in reaction to BJP’s charge that the Congress was trying to frame Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in the case.
The CBI investigation into the case is being monitored by the Gujarat High Court, which has directed the agency to file its charge sheet in the trial court before July 4. Government sources also rejected CBI’s claim that the agency did not need sanction of the government to prosecute Kumar. “It will be for the government to decide whether his actions were in official discharge of his duties or not,” a source said.