New Delhi: With the Attorney General throwing a spanner in its works, CBI will soon approach the government seeking sanction for prosecution against four Intelligence Bureau officials, including its former Special Director Rajinder Kumar, in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.
"We have received the opinion of the Attorney General (GE Vahanvati). Now we will approach the cadre controlling authority seeking sanction for prosecution of the IB officials," CBI Director Ranjit Sinha told PTI today.
Vahanvati, who had on Friday given his opinion suggesting that CBI needed a prior nod before prosecuting Intelligence Bureau officers in the case, however, feels that not taking the sanction at the time of filing the charge sheet is not fatal to the case.
"It can be produced before the court takes cognisance of the charge sheet," he told PTI.
Sinha acknowledged there was a difference of opinion within the agency on the issue. "There was a difference of opinion between me and the Director, Prosecution, and therefore, the matter was referred to the Attorney General," he said.
He said the Home Ministry will be handed over the request for granting sanction for prosecution against the senior retired officer and the serving subordinate staff.
CBI had filed a charge sheet in the special court in Ahmedabad on Thursday against Kumar, a 1979-batch IPS officer, and P Mittal, MK Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede. The former Special Director has been charged with criminal conspiracy and murder while the other three were slapped with charges of criminal conspiracy, wrongful confinement, kidnapping and wrongful concealment of facts.
Kumar was also slapped with additional charges under the
Arms Act for allegedly providing arms and ammunition used in the case on June 15, 2004.
Vahanvati had, in his legal opinion, said that prior sanction for prosecution was a must under section 197 of CrPC without which the serving IB officials cannot be put to trial.
The law officer was of the view that the sanction was required for Kumar notwithstanding his retirement. He had retired in July last year.
Vahanvati has cited at least two Supreme Court verdicts of the recent past to say IB men were acting or purporting to act in the discharge of their official duty and, therefore, they were covered under Section 197 of CrPC.
Section 197 states that when any person who is or was a judge or magistrate or a public servant not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of the government is accused of any offence alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, no court shall take cognisance of such offence except with the previous sanction.
The fake encounter took place in Gujarat in 2004 in which Ishrat, along with her friend Javed Sheikh alias Parnesh Pillai in Gujarat and two others believed to be Pakistani nationals, was killed and the entire incident was projected as an encounter by the Gujarat police.