In the first-ever prosecution of its kind for an extra-judicial execution, former Gujarat chief of the Intelligence Bureau Rajendra Kumar has been charged by the CBI with the murder of Mumbra college girl Ishrat Jahan Raza in 2004.
The charge sheet also accuses three serving IB officers of conspiracy. The charge sheet focusses on conspiracy behind the alleged murder of the 19-year-old student and three others in a staged encounter with a Crime Branch team nearly 10 years ago, the agency has mentioned that it is yet to get the Union Law Ministry’s opinion on whether sanction is required from the competent authority to prosecute the officials.
But the CBI in its charge sheet says the Department of Personnel and Training has said it does not require any sanction to prosecute them. Former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah, who was earlier examined by the agency in connection with the alleged fake encounter cases during his tenure, has not been named as an accused.
While Mr. Kumar has been charged with crimes under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) besides other provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the three serving IB officials, P. Mittal, M.K. Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede, are accused of conspiracy, kidnapping, illegal confinement, and under the Arms Act.
“It was alleged that the accused officials of the Gujarat Police and certain other persons were instrumental in securing illegal custody of the four persons who were subsequently abducted and later killed in a fake encounter. The persons killed were kept in illegal custody separately before the alleged fake encounter. The accused police officials with the help of officers of other agency allegedly obtained weapons for the purported encounter,” said a CBI official.
Another former Gujarat Police officer, K. G. Parmar, has been charged under Section 193 (giving false evidence) of IPC.
The 200-page charge sheet mentions no motive for the involvement of the officers in the encounter. The antecedents of those killed have also not been mentioned.
Ishrat Jahan was killed on June 15, 2004, along with three others on the outskirts of Ahmedabad by a police team which claimed that it had been tipped off by the IB that the four were terrorists who planned to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, now the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
In its first charge sheet filed last July, the CBI had accused seven policemen of murdering Ishrat and three others “in cold blood” and of planting an AK-56 assault rifle at the scene