Saturday, July 26, 2014

CBI chief partied with former IB boss he charged - has he fatally compromised the Ishrat Jahan prosecution? // Advocate Vrinda Grover's observations on the case

NB: THE CBI HAS CHARGESHEETED IB OFFICER RAJINDER KUMAR FOR CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MURDER, ABDUCTION, WRONGFUL CONFINEMENT AND FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF ARMS. Yet the CBI's Director sees nothing wrong in intimate social contact with such a person, moreover other senior officials, active and retired behave in the same manner. Does this behaviour serve to enhance our faith in the criminal justice system? DS

"Institutions are being subverted, high offices of public trust compromised. The crime is not limited to one case, the legal system and the judiciary is the last refuge of the citizen. It is being dismantled before your eyes.."Advocate Vrinda Grover
Four months after the CBI brought charges of conspiracy against former senior Intelligence Bureau official Rajinder Kumar in the alleged Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, its director Ranjit Sinha and his deputy were at a party thrown by the ex-sleuth, HT has learnt. Sinha and his deputy Anil Sinha’s presence at a function to celebrate Kumar’s son’s wedding showed collusion between the prosecuting agency and the accused, Vrinda Grover, the lawyer for Jahan’s mother Shamima Kauser, alleged.
“Ranjit Sinha by socialising with Kumar, whom the probe agency has charged in the Ishrat case with his apparent approval, has compromised the office of the CBI director,” Grover told HT. “He should be immediately removed.” Ranjit Sinha declined comment, saying it was a private matter. “I don’t want to talk to you,” was Kumar’s response. The trial is yet to begin in the sensational case as the home ministry is still to give the go-ahead to the CBI to prosecute Kumar, who retired from service last year.
The party was held on June 7 at an officers’ mess near the airport in the Capital, sources told HT. Many senior retired and serving government officials were present, sources who attended the function told HT. The CBI chief’s deputy and agency’s special director Anil Sinha confirmed he was at the party but denied his presence amounted to a conflict of interest. The probe against Kumar has been completed, Sinha said. The agency, Sinha said, had sent all the documents to the home ministry for the permission to prosecute Kumar. “The CBI is not only an investigating agency but also a prosecuting agency and the trial in the case is yet to start,” Grover countered. There was little hope for justice for Jahan as the CBI had compromised its institutional integrity, she said.
Mumbai girl Ishrat Jahan, 19, and three others were killed allegedly in a staged gunfight on June 15, 2004 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The police claimed the four were Lashkar terrorists out to kill Narendra Modi, the then CM. The encounter was fake and some 12 Gujarat Police officials planned and carried out the murders with four IB officials, including Rajinder Kumar, the CBI told the court in a February 7 charge sheet. But the court hasn’t taken note of the charges against Kumar and three IB officials in the absence of the mandatory government sanction. The CBI and home ministry, which administers IB, disagree over the documents required for the Centre’s go-ahead. The CBI has refused to share the case dairy with the ministry, which insists it cannot take a decision with going through it.
Advocate Vrinda Grovers observations:
In my fb post i had written CBI is not a "caged parrot" , it's their pet parrot! CBI Director and Deputy attend wedding celebrations of former IB Officer Rajinder Kumar's son, in June 2014. R. Kumar is chargesheeted by CBI as accused in the criminal conspiracy behind the fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan and 3 others. CBI Director claims investigation is complete and chargesheet has been filed hence there is no conflict of interest involved. May I remind the CBI Director that CBI is also the Prosecuting agency in the case and the trial has yet to commence. Or has the pet parrot - CBI received instructions from its master that no one will be prosecuted for the murder of Ishrat Jahan? Good governance demands that. CBI Director be sacked immediately. Who will prosecute the murderers of Ishrat Jahan? Are our institutions unable and unwilling to give justice to Ishrat Jahan? Is this the Rule of Law?

In response to the HT article and my FB post this morning, demanding dismissal of CBI Director Ranjit Sinha for compromising the integrity and impartiality of CBI by socialising with accused IB Officer Rajinder Kumar, who has been chargesheeted by the CBI for murder and criminal conspiracy in the Ishrat Jahan killings, my friend Bhupendra Chaubey, Political Editor CNN-IBN, asked me on fb,  "But how is it a crime if he met him socially. Plus Rajendra was ultimately chargesheeted." 

My reply.. is pasted here. We need to go back to first principles. No this subversion of justice will not cause any news anchor on TV, to express outrage, get furious, or ask any sharp or even plain angry questions! Accused IB officer, Rajinder Kumar is yet to be prosecuted by the same CBI that is headed by Ranjit Sinha. While Ranjit Sinha fulfills his social obligations, does he care a damn about his professional duties and code of conduct that binds him and all police officers. He is no less than the Director CBI. 

This is a very grave breach by Ranjit Sinha, but clearly we have to come to such a pass that it has to be spelt out. The Supreme Court has repeatedly said "Justice must not only be done, but must also seen to be done." In this case, for no legal reason, Rajinder Kumar, was never arrested by CBI, only the supplememtary chargesheet was filed. That too after a gap of 6 months since the filing of the first chargesheet. And 2 months before the general election, which any reasonable person knew would lead to a change of govt at the Centre. Was such courtesy shown to a IB officer because he supplied arms and conspired to kill people in cold blood; or because he is their friend and associate? What confidence can Shamima Kauser repose in the CBI after this? 

You do know that CBI is also the Prosecuting agency in this case and the trial is yet to begin in Ahmedabad Court. Rajinder Kumar has been cahrgesheeted for murders, not a road accident. This case is even otherwise quite politically fraught. GL Singhal and 3 other cops who were chargesheeted for the murder of Ishrat Jahan, have been reinstated in Gujarat police. They gave statements and evidence to the CBI that establishes this conspiracy. Did the CBI even squeal at this brazen interference with the administration of justice. 

The CBI has in its custody an audio clip that establishes that the Advocate General of Gujarat, along with accused cop GL Singhal, senior bureaucrats of Gujarat, including the PS to the then Chief Minister N Modi, lawyer for the accsued cops, strategised a at a meeting, how to block the probe and pronouncement of the killing of Ishrat and others as a fake encounter. A clearer case of interference in the adminsitration of justice cannot be made out. The Chief Minister N Modi did not remove Advocate General, Mr. Trivedi from the constitutional post and the CBI never investigated and chargesheeted all the senior Law Officer, govt officials, police officers and lawyers, involved in this crime. Institutions are being subverted, high offices of public trust compromised. The crime is not limited to one case, the legal system and the judiciary is the last refuge of the citizen. It is being dismantled before your eyes
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What the CBI Chargesheet says about role of accused IB Officer Rajinder Kumar.

IN THE SUPPLEMENTARY CHARGESHEET, IB OFFICER RAJINDER KUMAR IS NAMED AS AN ACCUSED IN THE CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY. ACCORDING TO THE CBI, RAJINDER KUMAR WHO WAS THEN THE JOINT DIRECTOR OF SIB, AHMEDABAD, WAS A KEY CONSPIRATOR THAT PLANNED THE ABDUCTION AND ILLEGAL DETENTION OF ISHRAT JAHAN AT A FARM HOUSE. ON 14TH JUNE 2004, IB OFFICER RAJINDER KUMAR, HANDED OVER ARMS AND AMMUNITIONS TO POLICE OFFICER G.L.SINGHAL. THESE WEAPONS WERE USED TO EXECUTE THESE EXTRA JUDIICAL KILLINGS. 

THE CBI HAS CHARGESHEETED IB OFFICER RAJINDER KUMAR FOR CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MURDER, ABDUCTION, WRONGFUL CONFINEMENT AND FOR ILLEGAL POSESSION OF ARMS.
EXTRACTS FROM THE SUPPLEMENTARY CHARGESHEET FILED BY THE CBI IN FEBRUARY 2014, IN THE SPECIAL CBI COURT IN AHMEDABAD, GUJARAT, IN THE CASE OF THE FAKE ENCOPUNTER AND MURDER OF ISHRAT JAHAN AND 3 OTHERS:

That, pursuant to the meeting of N.K.Amin with Rajinder Kumar at his residence on 09.06.2004 night, Shri N.K. Amin proceeded to Vasad, in the morning of 10.06.2004 and stayed at Vasad till afternoon of 12.6.2004. The cell tower locations of N.K. Amin extracted out of his CDR reveals that to materialize the said conspiracy Shri Amin was in continuous touch with Shri Mukul Sinha(A-9) and D.G. Vanzara(A-3). On 12.06.2004, after abducting Javed and Ishrat from Vasad Toll Booth, District Anand, Gujarat, Shri N.K.Amin along with Tarun Barot(A-6), Sh Mukul Sinha(A-9) and Sh Rajeev Wankhede (A-10) returned/escorted Javed and Ishrat to Ahmedabad and wrongfully confined them at Khodiyar Farm House, Off SG Highway, Ahmedabad.

That, in furtherance of criminal conspiracy, a meeting was held on 13.06.2004 (evening) in the office chamber of DG Vanzara(A-3), the then Addl CP at Bungalow No. 15, Duffnala, Shahibaug, Ahmedabad. This meeting was attended by Shri PP Pandey (A-2), the then Joint CP, DCB, Ahmedabad and Shri Rajinder Kumar (A-8), the then JD, SIB, Ahmedabad.
That, on 14.06.2004, in furtherance of the criminal conspiracy, Shri Rajinder Kumar (A-8) handed over arms and ammunitions in a bag to Shri G.L.Singhal (A-4), who inturn after collecting the weapons, handed over the same to Shri Tarun A Barot (A-6) through Nizamuddin Syed, PC at Khodiyar Farm House.
….
That in furtherance to the aforesaid criminal conspiracy between Shri Rajinder Kumar (A-8) and other accused Gujarat Police Officials, the victims Jishan Johar, Javed and Ishrat Jahan, who were secretly kept in wrongful confinement at Khodiyar Farm House were brought in the blue TATA Indica car from Khodiyar Farm House to the Scene of Crime, while Amjad Ali who was also in wrongful confinement at Arham Farm House was brought to the Scene of Crime separately. As a result of the aforesaid criminal conspiracy between Shri Rajinder Kumar (A-8),P.P.Pandey (A-2) and D.G.Vanzara (A-3), the other accused Gujarat Police officials namely J.G.Parmar (A-1), G.L.Singhal (A-4), N.K.Amin (A-5) T.A.Barot (A-6), Anaju J.Choudhary (A-7) and Mohan Lala Kalasava (now expired) killed Jishan Johar, Amjad Ali, Javed & Ishrat Jahan in a fake encounter in the intervening night of 14/15.06.2004 at Kotarpur Water Works, Ahmedabad.

That Shri Rajinder Kumar (A-8) has committed the offences punishable U/s 120-B, 302, 346, 364, 365, 368 of Indian Penal Code. Further Shri Rajinder Kumar (A-8) has also committed offences punishable U/s 3, 25(a) (a), 27 & 29 of Arms Act.

That Shri. J.G. Parmar (A-1) being one of the members of the fake encounter team and was himself involved in the investigation of Crime No. 8 of 2004 of DCB, Ahmedabad, fabricated a false evidence by coercing the witness namely Shri. Manoj Sidpura, the owner of M/s Shakti Garage, Surat and thereby got prepared bogus bill/invoice dated 14.06.2004 reflecting the repair of Tata Indica car bearing Registration No. MH 02 JA 4786 at his garage and also threatened Shri. Manoj Sidpura and obtained his statement U/s 164 Cr.P.C. for protecting himself and other accused officers/offcials involved in the abduction, illegal custody and killing of the deceased persons from being prosecuted for the above said offences. Thereby, Shri J.G.Parmar (A-1) (who has already been prosecuted vide charge-sheet dated 03.07.2013 in this case) has committed the offence punishable U/s 193 of Indian Penal Code.

The Sanction for Prosecution for prosecuting the accused Shri. Rajinder Kumar (A-8) who has committed offence under Arms Act would be obtained from the competent authority under the provisions of Section 39 of Arms Act, and on receipt of the same, it will be submitted to this Hon’ble Court.

That during investigation, the Call Detail Records were collected, which establishes the involvement and complicity of the above stated accused persons.