The agency was planting stories in the media to deflect scrutiny and create a favourable public mood

Several activists have alleged that the Intelligence Bureau was trying to “scuttle” the CBI probe in the Ishrat Jahan “encounter” case just 24 hours ahead of the scheduled hearing of the case in the Gujarat High Court.

Referring to the alleged leak of telephone call records on Thursday to a news channel, which ran the transcripts of telephone conversations between alleged key operatives, involved in the supposed assassination plot to eliminate the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the activists alleged that the IB was “planting stories in the media to deflect scrutiny and create a favourable public mood.”  

“The mischievous intent of the leaks and the telecast became clear when the Additional Advocate-General of Gujarat Tushar Mehta arrived in the Court on Friday with the two CDs and insisted that the Court see these CDs, which according to him, would prove that the course of CBI investigation was wrong. The Court refused to place these CDs on record, asking Mr. Mehta to hand these over to the relevant agency,” said a statement issued by activists Harsh Mander, Kavita Srivastav, Shabnam Hashmi and Manisha Sethi.

“The attempt was to undercut the agency probing the conspiracy hatched by the officers of Crime Branch in eliminating Ishrat and three others by somehow tainting them with the terror tag,” the statement added.

The activists also posed a list of questions to the IB. “Why are these tapes leaked to the press selectively now –when investigators are closing in on Rajender Kumar? Why have these tapes not been placed before magistrate Tamang whose enquiry in 2009 concluded that Ishrat and others were killed in cold blood? Why were the tapes not placed before the SIT in 2011, which similarly reached the conclusion that the encounter had been staged?”

They questioned the role of the media as well. “One could ask several questions to the media which chooses to air telephone calls without any forensic tests or voice tests, asking us simply to believe them because ‘they have been working on the story.’ One could tell them that being the IB’s chosen one for their dirty tricks is not something to be particularly proud of.” 

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