The Telegraph
Sunday , February 9 , 2014
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We’re accountable to court, not home ministry: CBI

New Delhi, Feb. 8: The chargesheet against former Intelligence Bureau special director Rajinder Kumar and three serving officers in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case has brought the CBI and the Union home ministry on collision course.

Senior IB officials have registered their protest with home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, saying the CBI acted without the mandatory sanction for prosecution from the competent authority.

A senior CBI official said today the agency was accountable to the court and not the home ministry, the cadre-controlling authority of IPS officers and the administrative ministry of the IB.

“We are accountable only to the court and not to the home ministry. Our officials got clinching evidence to nail Kumar and the other three IB officials. If the home ministry wants, it can deny prosecution sanction. The matter is in the court which has the final say whether it will take cognisance of the chargesheet or not,” the CBI official said.

On Thursday the CBI in a supplementary chargesheet charged Kumar with murder and conspiracy but left out Amit Shah, who was Gujarat home minister in 2004 when the encounter took place and is a close aide of Narendra Modi. The CBI cited lack of evidence against Shah, who it had questioned in the case.

After a newspaper quoted CBI director Ranjit Sinha as saying that the UPA government would have been happy had Shah been named as an accused in the chargesheet, he issued a denial today. Sinha said he had been misquoted. “The chargesheet was filed after due diligence and there was no pressure from anywhere,” he said.

A CBI statement said: “Director CBI has been quoted unfairly and completely out of context. CBI is an impartial and an apolitical organisation. In the Ishrat Jahan case, CBI has done a fair investigation to the best of its ability.”

The denial came after the Congress described the comments as “unfortunate” and the Janata Dal (United) said the “parrot has gone mad”. The Supreme Court had last year termed the CBI a “caged parrot with many masters”.

Three serving IB officials — P Mittal, M.K. Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede — have been charged with conspiracy.

Alleging “high-handedness” by the CBI, home ministry officials today said it was mandatory to obtain sanction for prosecuting intelligence officials under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Without this, the four accused cannot be put to trial. “This is just violation of the rule,” a home ministry official said.

The CBI had three weeks ago written to the law ministry seeking its opinion whether sanction was required to chargesheet the IB officials. But it did not wait for the reply.

“We have informed the designated Gujarat court that the legal opinion from the law ministry is awaited,” said another CBI official.

The CBI is under the administrative control of the department of personnel and training, which is under the Prime Minister.