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Ishrat Jahan was part of terror plot: Former IB officer Rajinder Kumar strikes back

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Former Intelligence Bureau officer Rajinder Kumar, charged in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, has rebutted the CBI’s claims in an interview to a TV channel.

Speaking to NDTV, Kumar has claimed that the 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan was part of a terror plot. Ishrat Jahan, along with three other men, was gunned down by the Gujarat Police based on inputs by the IB that the four of them were plotting to assassinate the Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.

Last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a supplementary chargesheet charged Rajinder Kumar with murder and criminal conspiracy in the 2004 encounter case, while accusing three other serving officers of criminal conspiracy as well as other offences. But it left out Amit Shah, a close aide of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was under the scanner in the case.

Reacting to the chargesheet, Kumar alleged that the CBI case was “complete falsehood.” “All four of them were part of terror plot. We are not vultures to target innocent people. We are human beings,” Mr Kumar said. “Our action relates to counter terrorism and involves no criminality,” NDTV quotes him as saying.

The CBI went ahead with the chargesheet against the IB officers, despite the denial of sanction of prosecution by the Union Law Ministry, which had stated that the evidence is not enough.

Nearly a decade after Ishrat was allegedly murdered along with her friend Javed Sheikh, alias Pranesh Pillai, in Gujarat and two others, believed to be Pakistani nationals, the CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet naming Kumar, who was Joint Director of the IB, posted in Gujarat at that time.

He was charged with Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) for Section 302 (murder) and other sections of the Indian Penal Code, besides various provisions of the Arms Act.

Along with Kumar, those named in the chargesheet are serving officers T Mittal, M K Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede, who have been booked for criminal conspiracy, wrongful confinement, kidnapping and wrongful concealment, besides under various sections of the Arms Act.

The CBI alleged in its supplementary chargesheet, that Kumar handed over arms and ammunition to Girish Singhal of the Gujarat Police, who passed on the weapons to Deputy SP Tarun Barot through Nizamuddin Sayeed. These arms and ammunition were allegedly used to commit the crime.

In its first chargesheet filed in the case on July 3 last year, the CBI had named the four IB officers, but not identified them as suspects, while terming the encounter as “fake” and “a joint operation by IB and the Gujarat Police”.

IPS officers D G Vanzara, P P Pandey, Girish Singhal, besides Tarun Barot, N K Amin, J G Parmar and Anaju Chaudhary had been named as accused.

The CBI had said that Ishrat and others were in the custody of the Gujarat police before being killed and, in fact, she and Javed had been interrogated by Kumar at a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city where they were kept in confinement.

Allegedly, all the four were taken to the ‘encounter’ spot near Kotarpur Waterworks blindfolded on June 15, 2004, before being shot dead in cold blood, the CBI had said.

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