CBI chief Ranjit Sinha told HT he "could have gone up the IB ladder but did not want to open a can of worms." Sinha, who spoke to HT, a day after the CBI included names of four IB officials in the supplementary chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, emphasised that he wanted to be "fair". He also conceded that there was pressure, but said there was no "confrontation" between him and the IB.
Four IB officials, three still serving, were charged with murder, kidnapping to murder, criminal conspiracy and wrongful confinement in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. Sinha, while implying that IB bosses were privy to information and intelligence that finally led to the fake encounter, said, “I have been fair. The IB tried to convince me on certain issues but we went ahead with the supplementary chargesheet because we have enough circumstantial evidence against the four officers.”
HT also contacted retired special director Rajinder Kumar, who headed the subsidiary intelligence bureau in Gujarat at the time the Ishrat encounter took place in June 2004. Asked if his bosses were privy to the details of the case, Kumar said, “As a matter of principle, I do not discuss intelligence operations with the media but can tell you that no officer can operate solo,’’ adding, “from the CBI’s own evidence, I will be able to prove that their charges are false.”
Intelligence officials have been formally charged in a court of law for the first time and this is leading to considerable unrest within the IB. Its director Asif Ibrahim had even taken up the matter at the level of the Prime Minister. Former home secretary RK Singh had had a meeting in his office in which both Ibrahim and Sinha had been present.
The CBI director also defended his decision to go ahead with the supplementary chargesheet even though the attorney general has still not given a view on whether prosecution sanction is needed to proceed against the IB officials.
"The IB did not share classified documents with us but there was no confrontation between me and them. Proceeding against two police organisations, the Gujarat police and the IB was not easy but I can say that I have shown no favour," said Sinha.
Asked about why key Narendra Modi aide Amit Shah had been left out, he said, “We did not find any evidence.”