Ishrat Jahan case: IB man may not figure in charge sheet

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) The CBI is unlikely to name Intelligence Bureau (IB) official Rajendra Kumar in its preliminary charge sheet in Ishrat Jahan shootout case to be filed before the Gujarat High Court by July 4 and may seek more time to probe the conspiracy angle, officials said Monday.

The preliminary set of formal charges may focus on those who are alleged to be directly involved in the suspected staged shootout and not on the conspiracy behind it.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Ranjit Sinha told reporters here Monday the agency will file a preliminary charge sheet by July 4.

“We have given an assurance to the high court that we will file the charge sheet by July 4. We will maintain that,” Sinha told reporters on the sidelines of a function on environmental training at the CBI headquarters.

He said the agency has written to the Maharashtra government and the union home ministry to provide more security to officers investigating the shootout case.

Asked if the charge sheet will name former Gujarat minister Amit Shah, Sinha said he could not comment on individuals.

Mumbai college girl Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Gopinath Pillai, Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar were killed by Gujarat Police in a shootout in Ahmedabad in 2004.

CBI officials said that the preliminary charge sheet was likely to name the officers alleged to be directly involved in the incident and the agency will file a supplementary charge sheet on the conspiracy angle in the killing.

The CBI has also questioned Rajendra Kumar, an Indian Police Service officer and IB official, in the case. Officials said he was unlikely to be named in the preliminary charge sheet as an accused.

Rajendra Kumar was with the IB in Gujarat when the shootout took place.

Officials, who did not wish to be named, said that the larger conspiracy behind the killings was still being probed.

The union home ministry has maintained that its prior sanction was required by the CBI to prosecute Rajendra Kumar. The ministry also expressed doubts over “evidence” that the agency claimed to have gathered on his alleged involvement.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling party in Gujarat, contended that the Ishrat Jahan shootout was not staged and was conducted on the basis of information received from the IB.

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