A Union minister from a southern state in the UPA and a “political advisor” from a state in western India have been identified by CBI officials as having “forced” the organisation to register a case against Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer Rajendra Kumar, with the purpose to implicate the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the Ishrat Jahan encounter. “The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative was portrayed as an innocent and facts about her concealed to fulfil this mission,” these sources said, adding that “CBI director Ranjit Sinha jumped to the bidding of this duo”.
The CBI team, which was investigating the alleged involvement of former IB Special Director Rajendra Kumar in the Ishrat Jahan case, was put under tremendous pressure to implicate Kumar by the top leadership of the agency itself, despite the investigating team clearly stating that no evidence existed to implicate Kumar in the case. Such was the zeal to implicate Kumar that files related to him were taken away illegally and baseless notings were inserted in them in order to implicate Kumar.
Officials, who are directly involved in the whole case, have told The Sunday Guardian that the files related to Kumar were “taken away” from the particular team which was handling the matter and changes were made in those files without the authorisation of the actual investigators. The purpose of such fiddling with the records was to implicate Kumar.
“Since this team was not willing to implicate Kumar as no evidence against him was found by them during their investigations, some files related to Kumar were taken away from the place where they were kept and the remaining files were forcibly taken away from the team members by some CBI officials who were close to the top brass of the agency and then certain file notings that were based on no evidences, but implicated Kumar, were inserted”, an official who is connected with the case said.
According to this official, the CBI team investigating Kumar had put it on record that there was no evidence in the case that proved any wrongdoing on part of Kumar, but the team’s assertions were overruled by seniors on the orders of the CBI director, who was open with his colleagues about the “political pressure” he was facing on the case from the “political advisor” and the Union minister, both of whom were close to the Congress leadership.
The official said that the information related to Ishrat Jahan being a part of the Lashkar module was correct, but Kumar was harassed by the CBI on the behest of the then political leadership of the country to achieve political motive. It was only after The Sunday Guardian (4 August 2013) pointed out that the order to intercept suicide bomber Ishrat Jahan was issued by the Central IB Director of Operations (who at the time of the report was in a key slot in the Manmohan Singh PMO) that orders were given to scale back on the effort to implicate Kumar, for fear of the Central link in the episode becoming known. However, “several people subsequently claimed credit for this decision”, these sources added.
After surveying the damage that the efforts of the Central minister and the “political advisor” could do to both national security as well as the image of his government (which passed on the information which led to the interception and shootout involving Ishrat Jahan and other ISI terrorists), both were overruled by the PMO, which asked the CBI to backtrack. “Subsequently, this decision was used by CBI Director Sinha to ingratiate himself with the NDA”, these sources added. The principals were not available for comment.
“The input that LeT was working on a plan to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, and that Ishrat was a part of that plan was shared by Kumar with the Gujarat police. Later, the Gujarat police acted on these inputs on the request of the IB. It needs to be understood that Kumar, who was at such a senior position, shared the input only after getting assured that they were correct. These kinds of input are “integrated input and are verified through various parameters and at various levels before they reach an actionable point”, the official said.
When the file incident was checked with Rajendra Kumar he did not deny the allegation. In addition, he told The Sunday Guardian that he was contemplating taking legal action in the case. “The whole thing, the efforts to make a case against me was a conspiracy. I am waiting for the government to take action against them. If the government does not take action against them suo-moto I might take legal recourse on the basis of what my lawyer says,” Kumar said.