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Ishrat fake encounter: Rift between IB, CBI now at PM's doorstep?

The rift between the CBI and the Intelligence Bureau over the summoning of the IB's Special Director Rajendra Kumar as an accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case has now reached the doors of the Prime Minister.

According to a report in the Indian Express, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon has brought the matter before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and has briefed him about the IB's concern that action against a senior officer could send a wrong signal and also set a bad precedent.

A file photo of Ishrat Jahan. IBNLive

A file photo of Ishrat Jahan. IBNLive

The report quotes unnamed sources as saying the CBI has told the government it has adequate proof to prove Kumar's role in the conspiracy that led to the alleged fake encounter in which Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed. The agency also has proof of what they said was Kumar's 'proximity' to the Gujarat Chief Ministers Narendra Modi's government.

On Wednesday, a report in the Economic Times said Director of Intelligence Bureau Asif Ibrahim met CBI Director Ranjit Sinha on Tuesday afternoon to express concern over the CBI’s decision to question Kumar as an accused. Ibrahim had also repeatedly met Home Secretary RK Singh over the issue.

Kumar, a 1979-batch IPS officer from Madhya Pradesh cadre was earlier questioned by the CBI on 31 May over the department’s input that alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were on their way to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

This time, Kumar has been asked to present himself before the agency and record his statement as an accused in the case, CBI sources were quoted as saying.

Fresh notices under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure have been issued as previous examination of the officer was not satisfactory and replies given by him appeared diversionary.

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

The role of the officer who was posted in State Intelligence Bureau in 2004 had come under the scanner of the agency for the allegedly fake input.

CBI officials said Kumar’s statement would be crucial in finalising the charge sheet in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case as he was alleged to have played a crucial role in generating an intelligence input about purported plan of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The CBI on the instruction of the Gujarat High Court took over the probe of the fake encounter in which 19-year-old Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in Ahmedabad on 15 June, 2004 allegedly by a Crime Branch team led by DIG DG Vanzara.