Sibal rubbishes BJP’s charge that Congress misuses CBI
A day after the CBI filed its first charge sheet in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Thursday said all those found guilty should be punished, even as his Cabinet colleague Kapil Sibal rubbished the BJP’s charge that the Congress was misusing the CBI and accused the Narendra Modi government of taking out “innocent lives.”
On Wednesday, the CBI filed the charge sheet, naming four Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers for allegedly facilitating the killing by generating fake intelligence inputs and by being present at the scene.
“Facts are facts… Guilty should be punished,” Mr. Shinde told journalists here, when asked about the CBI’s submission that it was probing the role of IB officials in the alleged fake encounter.
Significantly, senior IB and the Home Ministry officials have been defending Special Director Rajinder Kumar, Assistant Director (Ahmedabad) M.K. Sinha, Deputy SP Rajeev Wankhede and P. Mittal, saying there was not enough evidence against them.
In its charge sheet, the CBI said the unlawful killing was a joint operation of the Gujarat police and the IB and named seven Gujarat police officers as accused. It said Ishrat and three others were abducted and killed in a staged encounter by officers and men of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch.
Baseless charge: Sibal
Mr. Sibal said the BJP’s charge that the Congress was misusing the CBI were baseless, pointing out that the premier investigating agency was not probing the case at the instance of the Centre and that the probe was being monitored by court. “How can we misuse the CBI? The CBI is not investigating this matter at our instance, and many of these matters are investigated by the court, and the court is monitoring it [the probe].” He said, “I wish [BJP president] Rajnath Singh had reacted sensitively to this matter. Instead of saying the CBI is used, he should ask how the Gujarat police were being used, but the right question is not being asked. He should be asking his own people and Narendra Modi how this happened in Gujarat. They should be worried about lawlessness in Gujarat, and how State officials were complicit in …taking [out] innocent lives through fake encounters.”