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CBI, home ministry in stand-off over Ishrat Jahan case diary

The home ministry and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seem in a dispute on granting sanction to prosecute Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials, including its former special director Rajinder Kumar. The ministry has asked for the case diary in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.

Sources said CBI will seek legal opinion on whether the case diary can be shared with officers of the ministry as the document, which is to be maintained by the investigating officer, can be shared only with a court under the law.

Under the provision of Section 172, the code of criminal procedure, every police officer conducting an investigation maintains a record of the probe done on each day in a diary in the prescribed format.

These diaries are important records of investigation carried out by an investigating officer. Any court may send for the diary of a case under inquiry or trial and may use such diaries, not as evidence in the case, but to aid it in such inquiry or trial.

In the cases where sanction for prosecution of an official is sought from the government, the sources said, CBI provides them with details of the case, evidence against the official and other details to help the authority come to a view.

“We also have meetings with them to explain our case and provide them with material related to the case. However, the case diary is neither asked for by an authority nor shared with them. It is strange that the ministry is seeking the diary in this case. We will take legal opinion on the issue,” an officer said.

CBI has sought sanction from the ministry to prosecute Kumar (retired) and three officers P Mittal, M K Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede in connection with the case, in which the charge sheet has been filed after completion of the investigation.

The ministry had rejected the request of CBI for sanction for prosecution of Kumar and other accused officers and said all details related to the case must be provided before sanction could be accorded, sources said.

While IB, which comes under the ministry, believes Ishrat Jahan encounter, in which the 19-year old student with three others were killed by the Gujarat crime branch in Ahmedabad in June 2004, was a genuine counter-terrorism operation, CBI believes otherwise.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged it was a fake encounter and the victims were in the custody of the police officials before being killed by them.

CBI alleged IB officer Rajinder Kumar was part of the conspiracy of killing them while the other officers were part of conspiracy to kidnap them.

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