Law Ministry refuses to advise CBI in Ishrat case

Law Ministry refuses to advise CBI in Ishrat case

Claiming that the CBI did not provide sufficient documents, union law ministry has refused to offer advice to the probe agency on whether it needed sanction to prosecute Intelligence Bureau officers in the Ishrat Jahan “fake” encounter case.

CBI had recently approached the Ministry through the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) seeking a legal opinion whether they need sanction to prosecute former Special Director Rajinder Kumar and three other officers -- P Mittal, M K Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede.

The agency had locked horns with the IB over the questioning of Kumar and others after it was alleged that the officers generated false intelligence suggesting that Jahan and three others, who were killed in the 2004 encounter in Gujarat, were LeT terrorists out to target Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The law ministry’s decision, which comes close on the heals of Maharashtra governor K Shankaranarayanan’s refusal to sanction prosecution of former chief minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh scam citing lack of evidence, is a serious set back to the probe agency’s effort to conclude the thorny case.

Sources said the CBI informed the Law Ministry that it would share the documents with the Attorney General but cannot give copies of the sensitive papers.

The law ministry then suggested that the CBI officers can bring the document to its officials for examination before they could move further in the case.

Sources also said the law ministry would prefer the home ministry, the administrative ministry of the Intelligence Bureau, to answer the CBI’s questions for sanction to prosecute IB officers.

CBI said it has gathered enough evidence on the role of the IB officers in the conspiracy behind the encounter, but there are contrary views on whether sanction from Home Ministry is needed to prosecute them.

While it is held that prosecuting Kumar, who was on active service at the time of the alleged crime, needs sanction of the home ministry, there was also the view that Kumar can be chargesheeted without the ministry’s sanction since he retired from service last July.

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