In his first reaction to the CBI charge sheet against him in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, former Intelligence Bureau special director Rajinder Kumar said his involvement in it was purely in the course of discharging official duties.
“I, along with my former colleagues, have been wrongly implicated in the case as we were following two Pakistani terrorists along with their Indian collaborators,” said Kumar.
He declined to comment more on the issue.
Kumar is so far the highest-ranking IB official, retired or serving, to be charge sheeted in a criminal case.
Kumar, a 1979 batch IPS officer of the Manipur-Tripura cadre, retired from service on July 31 last year. At the time of the encounter, in which Ishrat and three others were killed on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in June 2004 because they were suspected to be Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, he was posted in Ahmedabad as joint director.
Kumar’s comment makes it clear that the issue of sanction under the Criminal Procedure Code to try him will be a matter of legal contention between him and the prosecuting agency.
The Code provides protection to public servants from action taken by them in the course of discharging official duties.
The CBI had asked for an opinion from the union law ministry whether sanction was required in this case but the ministry is yet to give its final opinion. Therefore, the CBI has not approached the Union home ministry, which will be the sanctioning authority in this matter.
Sources in the home ministry said whenever the CBI approached them for sanction, they in all likelihood would decline it.