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Ishrat case: CBI not focusing on intel input but conspiracy

June 14, 2013 20:54 IST

The probe of Central Bureau of Investigation in the alleged role of a senior Intelligence Officer in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter killing case is not limited to input given by him but his role, if any, in the entire conspiracy which led to the encounter.

CBI sources said they want to question Special Director Rajinder Kumar, a 1979-Batch IPS officer from Manipur-Tripura cadre, as some indications about his alleged involvement in the conspiracy have surfaced.

The sources said the focus of the agency's probe has never been the intelligence input, which had led to the controversial encounter, but on whether intelligence officers were active participants in the conspiracy behind the killing of 19-year old Ishrat Jahan, a college student, in the incident.

They said questioning of Kumar becomes important to complete its probe into the alleged conspiracy as the charge sheet is likely to be finalised in the last week of this month.

The sources said the agency would seek clarifications from the officer about the claims made by witnesses and other pointers which indicate his alleged role in the conspiracy which led to the encounter.

On the instruction of the Gujarat High Court, CBI took over the probe into the alleged fake encounter in which Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004 by a Crime Branch team led by DIG DG Vanzara.

During the last round of questioning which had taken place recently, Kumar claimed the input was genuine to the best of his knowledge and there was a threat to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's life in the aftermath of 2002 riots from the terror groups, especially LeT.

Meanwhile, CBI today sought from the Gujarat High Court extension of Gujarat cadre IPS Satish Verma's availability with the agency till June 30. The officer is assisting the agency in the probe on the directions of the High Court.

The attempts of CBI to question Kumar have created furore in power circles and Union Home Secretary R K Singh convened a meeting of CBI Director Ranjit Sinha and IB Chief Asif Ibrahim on Thursday to discuss the issue in detail.

The sources said while Ibrahim had pressed for the need to maintain confidentiality in the ongoing probe, Sinha assured that the same would be done.

Sinha had said CBI has enough evidence to back the summons issued to Kumar seeking to examine him again in connection with the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case probe.

CBI had issued fresh notices to the officer under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure as previous examination of the officer was not satisfactory and replies given by him, the agency said, appeared diversionary.

Kumar has sought exemption from appearance before CBI till Tuesday citing personal reasons.

A decision about his custodial interrogation will be taken only after the fresh round of questioning.

Image: Mourners carrying the body of Ishrat Jahan

Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

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