MHA, CBI tussle in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case

MHA, CBI tussle in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case

Ministry of Home Affairs wants case diary from probe agency

MHA, CBI tussle in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case

A turf war appears to be brewing between the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.

The ministry is seeking the case diary to decide on giving the nod for prosecuting four serving and former Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers. The CBI is also seeking legal opinion on whether it can pass on the case diary to the ministry. 

During the United Progressive Alliance regime, the MHA was divided over giving sanction for prosecuting the officers, including former IB special director Rajinder Kumar.

The CBI move to prosecute IB officers had resulted in both agencies fighting to secure their turf but no decision was taken. Now the buzz is that the MHA may not grant sanction to prosecute former IB officials in the case, though there is no official word.

Kumar and three other IB officers were accused by the CBI of being part of a conspiracy to stage-manage the killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others in a fake encounter in 2004, after planting evidence that they were Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives out to kill Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister.

Congress leader M Veerappa Moily said the move was “unwarranted” and that it will reflect on the autonomy of the investigating agency.

Ministry sources said the MHA had sought certain documents from the CBI saying no sanction will be accorded without proper application of mind for which material available on record is required. 

The CBI is of the view that it should take legal opinion whether the case diary can be handed over or not. According to the law, a case diary, which is maintained by the investigating officer, can be shared only with the court. 

Under section 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code, every police officer conducting an investigation maintains a record of the probe done on each day in a case diary in a prescribed format.

In January, the Law Ministry refused to provide legal opinion to the CBI whether sanction is needed to prosecute IB officers in the case, saying the agency has not provided them with sufficient documents.