Rajinder Kumar is an accused charged with murder: Mr Jaitley should remember the distinction between an accused and an IB officer

Arun Jaitley's diminishing legal acumen and ethics are on full display when he defends Ishrat's fake encounter
Arun Jaitley’s diminishing legal acumen and ethics are on fully display when he defends Ishrat’s fake encounter

Arun Jaitley, the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, has more faith in casual statements issued by cross-border terrorist organization like Jamaat-ud-Dawa or LeT terrorists like David Headley to denounce a young Indian girl Ishrat Jahan as a “terrorist†than the report of SIT appointed and monitored by the Gujarat High Court holding that Ishrat was abducted and murdered by the Gujarat police at Ahmedabad! Even more shocking is the reason put forward by Jaitley to rubbish a report accepted by the High Court and further investigation ordered by CBI. The reason given by Jaitley are as follows:

After being investigated by an SIT set up by the Court the case is referred to the CBI for investigation. Among the officers associating with the investigation  was a person who was selected by Ishrat’s parents who were petitioners. The SIT comprised of three persons, one of whom was the petitioner’s Nominee. A large number of policemen, named in the FIR, belonging to the Gujarat Police are arrested. Negotiations are held with them and a political bargain is struck.

Firstly let me point out a flagrant factual error. Ishrat’s parents did not nominate any officer in SIT. On behalf of Javed’s father, I had submitted a list of three police officers from whom the High Court chose one officer to be a member of SIT. His name was IGP Satish Verma IPS. Gujarat Government nominated IGP Mohan Jha as their nominee and Central Government Government had nominated Karnail Singh as Chairman of SIT who was first changed to Satyapal Singh and eventually changed to Shri RR Verma. The final report of SIT submitted to High Court was unanimously signed by all three members of SIT including the nominee of Government of Gujarat Shri Mohan Jha. Mr. Jaitley’s attempt to fault the report because the High Court permitted Satish Verma to be a member of SIT reflects a very frustrated opposition leader.

Ever since the Supreme Court in Sohrabuddin-Tulsi Prajapati case withdrew the investigation from Gujarat police and transferred it to CBI, a panic had gripped the BJP leadership and Narendra Modi. They managed to scrape through the Zakhiya Jafri case more by manipulation rather on merits but the encounter cases reached upto Amit Shah. The reopening of the Sadik Jamal and Ishrat case by Gujarat High Court had virtually toppled their apple cart but thanks to the malleability of Ranjit Sinha, the Director of CBI, Modi and Amit now feel emboldened. Their calculation is that in case they capture the central power, they will destroy all the three encounter cases.

The immediate concern of BJP appears to be how to delay the progress of the three cases. Ranjit Sinha has once again come to aid of BJP in the Ishrat case by not only letting off Amit and Modi off the hook but also opining that sanction would be necessary from the Government to prosecute Rajinder Kumar, the main accused IB officer. It is a settled law that in case of homicide which had no connection with the call of duty, no sanction whatsoever is necessary for the prosecution of the accused officer. But by raising this bogey of sanction, the cognizance of the offence would be held up.

Lastly, some of the Modi-Bhakts try to dilute the evidence against the IB officers by describing it as “circumstantialâ€. Quite apart from the fact that there are direct credible evidence against Rajinder Kumar regarding his role in hatching and planning the conspiracy to carry out the fake encounter, circumstantial evidences against Kumar for committing abduction and murder are equally legal valid and admissible. However such questions will arise only at the time of trial and any attempt to raise such issues at the stage of charge-sheeting is only begging for a useless debate.