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CBI hits translation hurdle in Ishrat case

New Delhi, Aug. 14: The Union home ministry has sought English translations of documents in Gujarati in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case — a process that may delay a decision on prosecuting a top intelligence officer.

The home ministry feels that the translations will equip it better to examine the CBI’s request for sanction to prosecute Intelligence Bureau (IB) special director Rajinder Kumar and three of his colleagues, sources said.

It could take months for translations of the “hundreds of pages” to come through, the sources said.

Kumar and the others are accused of sending Gujarat police inputs that Ishrat and the three other youths slain in the state in the encounter in 2004 were plotting to assassinate then chief minister Narendra Modi.

The request has pitted the two agencies against each other, with the IB standing by Kumar, who was posted as joint director in Gujarat at the time of the incident.

“Most of the documents are in Gujarati, so we have sought English translations. States too send us translations in such cases,” said a ministry source.

Ministry officials rushed to remove perceptions of a delaying tactic, saying they were examining the CBI request “dispassionately”.

The papers include statements to the CBI, such as those by about a dozen Gujarat police officers arrested in the case — and other files.

Kumar, an IPS officer, cannot be charged without the government’s nod.

Asked about the translations, CBI chief Ranjit Sinha said: “We will have to look into the matter. We are replying to the ministry.” The ministry had twice in the past month asked for more case details.

A Mumbai court had recently asked the CBI for similar translations in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. Sheikh, who was alleged to have had underworld links, was killed in November 2005.