In a development that is giving the intelligence community sleepless nights, the Central Bureau of Investigation is determined to take the probe into the role played by the Intelligence Bureau in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case to its logical conclusion.
But if the CBI does keep its word, this will not be the first time that the CBI would sting the Intelligence Bureau spooks.
The first one was the ISRO spy case of the mid-nineties that ended with the CBI severely indicting senior IB officers of connecting the dots where there were none.
It turned out the IB had imagined the spy plot and destroyed lives and careers of scientists, politicians and even police officers.
From ISRO to Ishrat, the CBI also crossed swords with the intelligence community in a few other cases.
For instance, when a few CBI sleuths landed at the IB’s surveillance centre one early morning in the late nineties to conduct a probe into illegal phone tapping.
But it was the 1994 ISRO spy case where the IB’s reputation took a big hit.
It had alleged two ISRO scientists D Sasi Kumaran and S Nambi Narayanan were selling the country’s scientists for money and sex to two Maldivian women, spying for Pakistan’s ISI.
The IB also named IPS officer Raman Srivastava in this conspiracy.
The CBI was associated with the probe to go into the international ramifications of these findings but found every charge leveled by IB without an iota of evidence.
At the end of this probe, the CBI held about nine intelligence officials responsible for the goof-up.
It has never been clear if any action was taken against them. An intelligence official recalled the IB was forced to “let go” of three senior intelligence officers after the indictment.
One of them was a Kerala cadre IPS officer Mathew John, who was the director general (fire forces and rescue) when he opted for voluntary retirement in 2011.
The other two included his deputy director in the bureau, RB Sreekumar, the Gujarat cadre IPS officer who spoke out against chief minister Narendra Modi after the 2002 riots. Sreekumar — who has since then retired — also spoke out against the practice of staged encounters in Gujarat.