Shinde, ministry differ on probe

Shinde, ministry differ on probe

Ishrat case: Minister feels that guilty should be punished

Shinde, ministry differ on probe

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde appears to differ from his ministry’s stand on the CBI’s move to probe into the role of Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. He indirectly supported the investigators by saying on Thursday that “the guilty should be punished.”  

The Home Ministry was of the view that the evidence against IB Special Director Rajendra Kumar was too weak to warrant his prosecution. He had tipped off the Gujarat Police of an impending terror strike on Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

 The CBI on the contrary filed a charge sheet in an Ahmedabad court on Wednesday, alleging that Kumar and three others were part of a conspiracy to bump off Ishrat and others in 2004 in a fake encounter.

Though the IB officials have not been made accused in the case, their names figure in the prosecution’s story of the fake encounter. They have been accused of illegally confining Ishrat and others and procuring AK-47 rifles, which were allegedly planted on the victims.

They were also in constant touch with state police officers before and after the stage-managed encounter.

Top MHA officials believe that Kumar, during his previous stint in Ahmedabad as the joint director, had merely shared intelligence on a militant attack on Modi. Even if he was in touch with the state police officers, he could be only booked for holding information on an impending incident.

“Facts are facts. The guilty should be punished,” Shinde told a news agency on Thursday.
Shinde’s view is, however, in tune with the Congress, which launched a counter-offensive saying that the BJP should now be asked how the Gujarat government misused the police by taking “innocent lives.”

The political slugfest continued with BJP president Rajnath Singh demanding that the UPA government should disclose whether Ishrat had any links with terrorist groups. The CBI charge sheet was silent on her alleged terror links, which was also disclosed by Pakistani American Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist David Hadley to the FBI as well as the National Investigation Agency. The CBI officials said it was “immaterial.”

“The track record of Ishrat Jahan should be checked if she had any links with terror groups and then make it public,” Singh told reporters in Guwahati.

Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal, however, remarked: “I wish Rajnath Singhji had reacted sensitively to this matter. Instead of saying the CBI is used, he should ask how the Gujarat Police was being used but the right question was not being asked.”

70 rounds fired at Ishrat, others

Gujarat Crime Branch officials had fired 70 rounds using their automatic and semi-automatic weapons at Ishrat Jahan and three others during the alleged fake encounter nine years ago, reports PTI from New Delhi.

In an attempt to give the encounter credibility, Crime Branch Commando Mohan Kalasawa allegedly fired from AK-56 automatic assault rifle, which was said to be provided by subsidiary intelligence bureau–an unit of Intelligence Bureau, at the official Gypsy of police, CBI sources said. These details have been included in the investigating agency’s charge sheet.

They said they have explained in the charge sheet how the AK-56 was procured by the Crime Branch and later planted on Amjad Ali. Rana. who was killed along with Ishrat and two others on June 15, 2004.

Two officers of the team that executed the encounter, I K Chauhan and Commando Mohan Nanji, had refused to fire upon the four victims–Ishrat, Javed Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Jishan Johar–following which Mohan Kalasawa and Tarun Barot snatched their weapons and shot the victims dead, CBI sources said.

They said the investigations revealed that maximum rounds were allegedly fired by Kalasawa who first fired 32 rounds from his AK-47 automatic rifle and later snatched the gun of Nanji and fired another 10 rounds at Ishrat and others.

According to CBI investigations, N K Amin, J G Parmar, Tarun Barot, Mohan Kalasawa and Anaju Jiman Choudhary were allegedly involved in the shooting in which Ishrat and three others were killed.

The sources said they have given a break-up of the shots fired by the Gujarat crime branch officials which shows that Amin fired five rounds from his 9 mm pistol, Parmar fired four rounds from his revolver, Barot emptied six bullets of his revolver and also fired three rounds from Chouhan’s revolver, Kalasawa fired 32 rounds of his AK-47 and 10 rounds from Nanji’s AK-47 while Choudhary fired 10 rounds from his stengun.

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