HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

IB officer had hand in Ishrat killing: CBI

Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 23, 2013
First Published: 00:11 IST(23/6/2013) | Last Updated: 09:51 IST(23/6/2013)

The CBI investigation team has concluded that Intelligence Bureau (IB) special director Rajinder Kumar had 'actively connived' with the Gujarat police team that killed alleged Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) suicide bomber Ishrat Jahan and her three associates in a fake encounter on June 15, 2004 in Ahmedabad.

Sources say since the investigation team's conclusion is based on statements of lower level Gujarat police personnel involved in the encounter and the investigators so far have not found any material corroborative evidence, the agency is likely to seek legal advice before a charge sheet is filed.

"At the moment, the charge sheet is being finalised and it will be sent for legal vetting," said a CBI official who did not wish to be named.

The Gujarat High Court has given the agency time till July 4 to file a charge sheet in the case.

"Contrary to some of the earlier media reports, GL Singhal, the Gujarat cadre IPS officer and an accused in the case, has not given a statement before magistrate under section 164 of the criminal procedure code," said the official.

The agency has recorded at least 10 statements before magistrates, mostly from witnesses.

Meanwhile, IB officials are keeping their fingers crossed on the issue of filing any possible charge sheet against Kumar.

Kumar has been interrogated twice by the agency. At the time of his second round of questioning, he demanded removal of Gujarat cadre IPS official Satish Verma from the investigation team alleging that Verma was targeting him as they didn't go along well at the time of his posting in Ahmedabad. After Kumar raised the issue, Verma didn't sit in the second round of questioning on June 18.

Verma, who was assisting the CBI in the investigation of the case as he was part of the successive special investigation teams of police officials formed by the high court, will also part ways with the CBI on June 23.

"Once Kumar had raised objections, for the sake of fairness, it was better to remove Verma, although, his disassociation with the investigation team came at a late juncture," said an IB official, who did not wish to be identified.

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