The CBI, which is investigating the Ishrat Jahan encounter, is yet to reveal the complete story. The story behind the encounter will be known only when the second chargesheet is filed by the CBI, but the chargesheet submitted by the premier investigating agency last week vividly reflects what it has in store. The CBI chief has stated that he is looking into all aspects of the case and also probing deeply into the statements made by some witnesses that there was a political conspiracy behind the encounter. The so called allegations are already making headlines in a section of the media. It is true that the Ishrat encounter probe is being carried out on the orders of the Gujarat High Court but the first chargesheet filed by the CBI clearly indicates that how the investigation is politically motivated. The CBI has till now mentioned the names of four IB personnel in the Ishrat encounter case and more are likely to come under its scanner.

There is no doubt that the Central government has given a complete go-ahead to the CBI, else the premier investigating agency would not have dragged four personnel of the IB into the case despite the IB Director’s objection in this regard. If we go by what the CBI propositions, the Gujarat police killed three other people along with Ishrat in the fake encounter. This is perhaps the first time that the IB is said to be directly involved in an encounter. This is true that the Gujarat High Court had asked the CBI to find if the encounter was fake or not, but did it stop the CBI from also finding out the real motive behind the encounter? Surprisingly, the CBI has maintained a silence on this. Every investigating agency knows that while probing any case, it is also required to find out the motive behind the crime. Let us suppose for a moment that the Gujarat government was actually looking to gain some political mileage out of this encounter, then will someone also explain how the IB was involved in this? The IB is under the control of the Central government and when this encounter took place, the Congress was ruling at the Centre. If the Central government was unaware of the goings-on within the IB, how can it be said with any certainty that the Gujarat government was aware of it? Notably, the CBI does not find it necessary to explain what enmity the Gujarat Police and the IB had with the three people killed in the encounter. It is being said that out of the three, two were Pakistani citizens and had entered India through Kashmir. Will someone explain how these Pakistani citizens entered India?

The CBI chargesheet says that Gujarat police had initially let Ishrat and her friend Javed alias Pranesh Pillai go off but then called them from Bangalore to Ahmedabad. Does a criminal so obediently listen to the police? The CBI is silent on the relationship between Ishrat and Javed and also the relationship with the two Pakistanis. According to the chargesheet, the Pakistani citizens were caught in April whereas Javed and Ishrat were caught in June. The chargesheet is silent on why the Gujarat police kept waiting for Javed and Ishrat. If we go by the chargesheet, the IB was more interested in the encounter than the Gujarat police, but the CBI is silent on why it was so. If the mastermind of this encounter was IB, the Central government should be put in the dock.

The CBI has said that there was no political pressure on them in this case. This defence in itself proves that the truth is something else. It is quite true that the Ishrat Jahan encounter was fake but the way the CBI has been covering up things, it raises suspicions that the probe could be fake as well. It is important that we do not brush the Ishrat encounter under the carpet in the garb of the fact that fake encounters keep happening in the country. It is also important that in the name of probes bringing out only half-truths would be dangerous.

Even the Central government seems to be complicit in this insidious game and it is probably because of this that the ruling establishment at the Centre has  not been coming forward on why it had initially named Ishrat as a terrorist and why the information gathered by NIA from David Headley in America was not disclosed. It is a crime to kill Ishrat in a fake encounter even if she was a terrorist but then to deliberately put a veil over her past is also a crime. It seems that the Central government which has not been able to take on the Gujarat CM politically, is now looking to create trouble for him administratively. This must be stopped. The Central government can attain its devious political game by pitting the IB and CBI against each other but in doing this, it will end up making a mockery of the intelligence agency. If the morale of the IB dips, this will have a deleterious effect on national security leading to new dangers on the security front.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on July 7, 2013 translated by the English editorial. The author is the Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)