The 10 coordinated serial blasts at Bodh Gaya on Sunday have posed a challenge to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) at a time when its officials happen to be particularly demoralised.
Though there is no let-up in anti-terror efforts, senior IB officials held an informal discussion on Friday last on the issue of lack of legal protection to save them from a situation like the one IB special director Rajinder Kumar finds himself in.
“Officials of the premier internal security organisation of the country, entrusted with fighting terror in perhaps the most volatile neighbourhood in the world, are watching helplessly how Rajinder Kumar might be arrested and chargesheeted in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case by the CBI for a covert operation the IB participated in,” said an intelligence source.
The CBI plans to soon chargesheet Kumar for the June 15, 2004 encounter of alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba suicide bomber Ishrat Jahan and three others — Javed Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Jeeshan Johar in Ahmedabad. The CBI has charged it with being a fake encounter and Kumar is believed to be part of the conspiracy.
The IB says Kumar’s involvement was limited only to the intelligence inputs he provided about the group.
“We penetrate terror outfits, create aliases and lie to lure terror operatives into traps. Legally all are crime. Police officials have legal protection but as intelligence officials we have none. Today, it is the turn of Kumar, next it could be another. There should be a legislation to clearly define go or no-go areas for intelligence officials. The informal discussions are yet to take formal shape,” said an official requesting anonymity.