Ishrat Jahan Encounter Case: Home Ministry refuses sanction to CBI to prosecute IB officials
The Union Home Ministry on Monday denied sanction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute four Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials who were allegedly involved in the conspiracy behind the killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others.
The CBI had earlier sought sanction to prosecute four IB officials: Rajinder Kumar, P Mittal, M K Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede in connection with the killing of Ishrat.
The Union Home Ministry, after perusing the documents submitted by the CBI, rejected the agency’s plea, said “The Hindu” citing official sources but added that they did not elaborate the grounds on which the sanction has been turned down.
The CBI had submitted its final report in the case to the Home Ministry, which is the cadre controlling ministry for IB personnel, two years back.
Former IB Director Asif Ibrahim had opposed the move to prosecute the officers during his tenure which ended in December last year.
The case relates to the killing of Ishrat, a 19-year-old Mumbra college student, and three others in an alleged ‘encounter’ that took place on outskirts of Ahmedabad in 2004.
Mr. Kumar, an IPS officer of 1979 batch, who retired about two years ago, was posted as joint director of IB in Ahmedabad when the Ishrat encounter took place.
The former IB officer was questioned by CBI twice regarding his alleged role in the conspiracy to carry out the encounter.
The retired IPS officer was alleged to have generated intelligence input that a group of Lashkar terrorists were coming to Ahmedabad to target Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.
Almost all accused in the case got bail from court. IPS officers D.G. Vanzara and P.P. Pandey were granted bail in February. N.K. Amin, another accused, was reinstated by the Gujarat Home Department as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) in the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) at Gandhinagar early this month.
In the encounter, Ishrat Jahan, her friend Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh along with two suspected Pakistanis — Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar — were shot dead by Gujarat crime branch officials.
The crime branch had then claimed that the four of them were Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives who had reached Gujarat to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
On July 3, 2013, the CBI, the agency conducting the prosecution of the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, had filed a chargesheet and stated that Mumbra-based college girl Ishrat Jahan, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were gunned down in a fake encounter on June 15, 2004 in a joint operation of IB and Gujarat Police.
CBI had chargesheeted seven Gujarat police personnel- IPS officers D G Vanzara (retired), P P Pandey, G L Singhal, Dy SPs N K Amin, Tarun Barot and J G Parmar along with commando Anaju Chaudhary for murder and criminal conspiracy to eliminate the four persons.
The chargesheet said the whole conspiracy to abduct, confine and kill Ishrat, Sheikh, Johar and Rana was planned by Vanzara, Additional DGP P P Pandey and then Gujarat Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) Joint Director Rajendrer Kumar.
The refusal of the Union Home Ministry to grant permission under section 197 of the CrPC (a mandatory and prior permission to prosecute any government servant in an offence) means that charges against the accused (IB officers) cannot be framed in the case.
It is learnt that Ishrat Jahan's family is likely to challenge the Union Home Ministry's decision not to grant sanction to the CBI to prosecute the four IB officials in the alleged encounter case.
PTI quoted advocate I H Syed, who appeared for Ishrat's mother Shamima Kausar as having said: "I will decide (on the further course of action) after discussing it with Vrinda Grover. But ordinarily it is required to be challenged."