Ishrat Jahan case: IB can seek immunity if they want, says CBI // Body politics by Shekhar Gupta

AS it probes the conspiracy behind the alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan to file a second chargesheet next month, the CBI Friday strongly defended its investigation which has pitted the agency against the Intelligence Bureau over the latter's role in the sensitive case. With some IB officers expected to be named in the second chargesheet, CBI director Ranjit Sinha said it is up to the intelligence agency to appeal to the right quarters if it wants immunity from prosecution. "The CBI got an opportunity in the coal allocation case and enhanced powers for it have been proposed by the government. The IB too should see an opportunity in the Ishrat Jahan case," Sinha told The Indian Express. "They should approach the courts or the government for immunity as is granted by several other countries to intelligence outfits instead of criticising the investigating agency and questioning the quality of CBI's evidence. This is an issue the government has to decide upon," he said.

Defending the CBI probe into the June 2004 encounter which has cast a shadow on the roles of four IB officers, including special director Rajinder Kumar, Sinha said the investigation was being monitored by the Gujarat High Court and it is for the first time the CBI has been tasked with looking into the functioning of an intelligence agency. "We have no political agenda and we should not be blamed for demolishing the security of the country. A bogey is being created that thanks to the Ishrat Jahan case the entire IB will stop functioning and national security will be in jeopardy," Sinha said. "This is unfortunate since both the agencies, the CBI and the IB, are part of the same security setup. But if conspirators have left footprints and have failed to cover their tracks we will uncover as much evidence on the conspiracy as possible."

The CBI has begun working on the "larger conspiracy" behind the encounter, aiming to file a second chargesheet amid reports that Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Toiba operative David Headley had told Indian investigating agencies that Ishrat had terrorist links. Asked if this would prompt the CBI to investigate the alleged terror connections of Ishrat and the three men who were killed with her, Sinha said the agency would stick to the mandate given to it by the Gujarat High Court.

"We have been rapped on the knuckles earlier by the high court and asked to unravel the truth on the nature of killings of the four persons killed, including Ishrat Jahan. People are using background such as the Headley inputs to divert attention from the fake encounter probe. And in any case, under the Indian Penal Code, even a terrorist is not supposed to be gunned down in a fake encounter," Sinha said.

Body politics by Shekhar Gupta
It is clear that the UPA's security establishment knew exactly what had happened and had accepted it, until the courts brought in the CBI.

I killed more than 80 people in fake encounters, says a repentant Punjab cop

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