The CBI charge sheet in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case will focus on the alleged roles of only those who directly participated in the operation, top sources in the agency told The Hindu on Friday. The larger conspiracy behind the killings is still being probed.
“Disinformation is being spread and speculation is made on who are to be chargesheeted. At this stage, we are focussing only on those persons who were part of the action and thus directly involved in the killings. Probe into the conspiracy part are under way,” said a senior official, indicating that the agency might file a supplementary charge sheet to include the conspiracy angle.
The CBI has not yet arrived at a conclusion on whether Intelligence Bureau Special Director Rajendra Kumar, who allegedly played a crucial role in forwarding input which became the basis for the policemen to gun down the Mumbai college girl and three other “Lashkar-e-Taiba” terrorists, should be chargesheeted or not. In any case, his name would perhaps find a mention in the charge sheet as the person through whom the intelligence input was forwarded to the Gujarat police.
“We will seek legal opinion to ascertain further course of action in this regard. While it is being said the agency will have to seek sanction for prosecution [of the IB official], several Supreme Court orders on fake encounter killings have held that no such prior approval is required where an officer is accused of being part of a conspiracy to carry out a fake encounter, as it cannot be termed an act in the course of duty,” said the official.
Has the role of any political leader come up during the probe? CBI officials said they were yet to investigate the conspiracy part of the alleged offence and hence were not in a position to say anything in this regard with certainty.
“Even the suspected role of the IB official in the conspiracy is still to be thoroughly probed. Other aspects would also be covered as investigations progress further,” said a CBI official, adding the Gujarat High Court had given directions that the agency was required only to find out whether it was a case of extrajudicial killing, and not whether those killed were terrorists or not. The court has directed the CBI to file the charge sheet by July 4.