IB officer to face CBI again in fake encounters probe
Intelligence Bureau (IB) special director Rajinder Kumar, who is superannuating today, will face a fresh round of questioning by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Ishrat Jahan and Sadiq Jamal fake encounter cases.
A CBI official, involved in the agency's probe into cases of fake encounters in Gujarat, said that the Kumar "will be called for interrogation very soon" in the "fake encounter killings" which have rocked the nation and taken overt political tones in recent times.
Kumar, a 1979 batch IPS officer of Manipur-Tripura cadre, allegedly supplied information that led to the encounter killings of Mumbai college student Ishrat Jahan and three others, who were gunned down by Ahmedabad police in June 2004. He is also a suspect in the killing of Sadiq Jamal, who was illegally detained and shot dead in January 2003.
The CBI and the IB have been at loggerheads over bringing Kumar and to book to avoid further friction, the agency had been waiting for Kumar's retirement to charge-sheet him in the case. Last week, Kumar was forced to go on leave till his retirement.
The CBI charge sheet in the Ishrat Jahan case--filed in the first week of July--described the staged killings of four persons as a "joint operation of IB and Gujarat police".
Though the charge sheet did not name Kumar as an accused, the CBI claimed his alleged involvement in procuring prior custody of the deceased, keeping them in illegal confinement and supplying an AK-56 rifle which was planted on the deceased when they were gunned down by Ahmedabad crime branch cops.
Following the charge sheet, the ministry of home affairs had told Rajinder Kumar to stop attending office till his retirement on July 31.
The CBI had questioned Kumar twice earlier in the Ishrat case and the agency is said to have gathered "crucial evidence" like sworn testimonies of witnesses, who have narrated the role played by Kumar and his subordinate IB officials in the Gujarat unit of the IB.
In the supplementary charge sheet in the case, the CBI is likely to name Kumar as an accused in the Ishrat case.
Kumar was heading the subsidiary intelligence bureau in Gujarat from 2001 to 2005 as joint director.
The CBI's efforts to nail Kumar were frustrated by the IB, which mounted pressure on the ministry of home affairs, PMO and the CBI director contending that the probe against IB officials would have far-reaching repercussions pertaining to national security.
"We have sound evidence on Rajinder Kumar's role in both the cases. His alleged involvement is not limited to generating a false alert. He was involved in procuring prior custody of the victims in both cases," the CBI official added.
In the case of Sadiq Jamal, Rajinder Kumar had generated an alert profiling Sadiq as a LeT terrorist despite the fact that Gujarat police had re-verified the claim and reported that he was not associated with any such outfit.
"There are statements given by Gujarat police officials who had verified following the IB tip-off and yet Sadiq was killed based on the alert generated by Kumar," the CBI official involved said.