IB (Intelligence Bureau) is very much in the news these days. The context is the involvement of Mr. Rajinder Kumar, its Special Director, in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case of Gujarat. At present CBI is investigating this case and have found sufficient evidence about the involvement of Rajinder Kumar in this conspiracy. According to the available evidence Rajinder Kumar has been found to be responsible for giving a false input to Gujarat police that Ishrat Jahan along with Javed Sheikh alias Parnesh Pillai and two alleged Pakistani nationals were coming to Gujarat to kill Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat. Not only resting with it he has been found to be involved in hatching a conspiracy to kill them and he is also alleged to have supplied one AK-47 rifle which has been shown as a recovery from the so called terrorists. He also visited the spot of encounter immediately after its execution by Gujarat police officers.
Armed with this evidence CBI had asked Rajinder Kumar to appear before the investigation team to answer the questions relating to his role in this conspiracy. He avoided it for a long time and appeared before it only when he was threatened with his arrest. In the meantime IB tried its level best to ward off his interrogation by CBI. They put forth the plea that his role was limited to giving the intelligence input only and he did not motivate Gujarat police to kill the alleged terrorists who are said to be members of Lashkar-e-Taiba , a Pakistan based terrorist organisation. Director IB also claimed that if Rajinder Kumar is arrested or questioned it is bound to demoralise the officers of IB who are responsible for monitoring terrorist activities and informing the state police organisations about the developments thereof. IB also played a dirty trick by getting broadcast a so called audio CD, without any authenticity thereof, in which Ishrat Jahan is alleged to be in conversation with Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives. They also put forth the plea that Headley, a terrorist based in America and who masterminded 26/11 attack on Bombay, had also told that Ishrat Jahan was a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba. It is surprising that Central Government which filed an affidavit in Gujarat High Court has not mentioned anything about Ishrat Jahan being a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba. It clearly shows that all these are fake pleas to shield the wrong doings of Rajinder Kumar. His involvement in this murder conspiracy has been testified before the court by Mr. Singhal, a Gujarat police officer who was directly involved in this fake encounter. This evidence clearly establishes beyond any doubt the involvement of Rajinder Kumar in the fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others.
Now the question arises as to what is the sanctity of being an officer of IB and claiming immunity in the name of national security and the alleged demoralisation of IB officers if they are prosecuted for their criminal acts. Our law of the land lays down the dictum of equality before and the due process of law. In the present case can Rajinder Kumar claim to be above law of the land? I think he cannot. He is involved in an offence and he should be investigated and prosecuted. As regards the bogey of IB officers getting demoralised it is a usual plea taken by all police agencies who when caught on the wrong foot seek protection from their masters. On the contrary I think it will give a boost to the moral of all those officers who work as per law and rules. The wrong doers get a walk over the right doers as they are able to impress their seniors and political bosses with their machinations, fabrications and manipulations. This phenomenon actually demoralises the right doers. The people also lose faith in police and as at present police has totally lost its credibility. The police can restore it only by working according to the dictates of law in an impartial and just manner.
As regards Ishrat jahan being a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative so far no conclusive evidence has come forward to establish this fact. IB is floating various stories about the same in an effort to forestall the prosecution of its officer. Even if it is taken as true does it give a licence to kill Ishrat Jahan? I think the answer can be no only. Actually it is the communal mindset of the IB officers which is responsible for the victimization of Muslim youth. It is alleged that some communally minded IB officers like Rajinder Kumar in collaboration with State Police indulged in witch hunting of promising Muslim youth. They located such youth and targeted them. They gave false and fabricated intelligence reports of such youth being members of terror outfits and got them bumped off or booked in various terror cases. The result is that a large number of innocent youth are languishing in jails in terror cases.
A similar role has been played by IB officers in U.P. also. In three terror cases of Court Bomb blasts in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad in 2007 it is mentioned in the FIRs that as per the report of Intelligence agencies these persons are members of HUJI or INDIAN MUJAHIDIN and they have been booked for the same. In two cases of Faizabad and Lucknow Nimesh Commission found two persons Tariq and Khalid as wrongly arrested. In a writ petition filed by Ashish Khetan, a journalist , in Allahabad High Court against arrest and implication of innocent Muslim youths in seven terror cases of U.P. he has demanded reinvestigation of all these cases. In three cases the input was given by IB. Mr. Khetan has produced the interrogation reports of the persons later on arrested by police alleged to belong to Indian Mujahidin who have confessed their involvement in the cases wherein innocent persons alleged to belong to HUJI have been booked but this fact has not been disclosed before the court. Now if the High Court accepts this petition and orders reinvestigation of these cases the whole falsehood of IB and U.P. Police will be exposed.
As we know IB has been playing a very dubious role in our country. Firstly it is an organisation without any statutory sanction and not answerable to anybody except Home Minister and Prime Minister. Its duties and responsibilities have not been defined anywhere. Its budget is not discussed in the Parliament. A retired IB officer has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the very existence of such an organisation without any statutory sanction. The writ petition is still pending in the Court. IB has been functioning very pleasurably so far. But now having been cornered in Ishrat Jahan case its officers have started asking for defining of its duties and responsibilities.
The primary work of IB is said to collect intelligence covertly about threat to internal security but it is used by the ruling party, whosoever it may be, to spy over its opponents. Before election it is used to collect intelligence about the election prospects of the ruling party and those of its opponents. Many times IB is used to carry out secret operations for frustrating the election prospectus of opposition parties. IB gets a lot of funds to carry out these operations and enrol paid agents. As such IB serves as a faithful servant of its master and public funds are misused for the benefit of the ruling party.
In Ishrat Jahan case IB is claiming immunity in the name of being a secret organisation and the possibility of its officers getting demoralised if punished for their involvement in criminal activities as in the case of Ishart Jahan and some other cases likely to come up. The law of the land stands for equality before law and due process of law. IB cannot be treated above the law. Hence the claim of IB of being a sacred cow cannot be accepted in the eyes of criminal justice system and the culprits have to face the consequences of their illegal deeds. At the same it is necessary that IB must be made to work under a statutory authority and be made accountable to the Parliament.