The Home Ministry, after perusing the documents submitted by the CBI, rejected the agency's plea, official sources said but did not elaborate the grounds on which the sanction has been turned down.

The CBI had submitted its final report in the case to the Home Ministry, which is the cadre controlling ministry for IB personnel, two years back.

After going back and forth many times between the CBI and Home Ministry, a final decision has been recently taken in this case. Former IB Director Asif Ibrahim had opposed the move to prosecute his officers during his tenure which ended in December last year.

The CBI has been informed the Home Ministry decision to deny sanction to prosecute Kumar and three others in the killing of Ishrat, a 19-year-old Mumbra college student, and three others in the encounter that took place on outskirts of Ahmedabad in 2004.

The CBI sources had maintained that they had evidence that Kumar was one of the officers who had interrogated Ishrat when she was allegedly taken into illegal custody by Gujarat Police before being killed in the encounter.

In the encounter, Ishrat Jahan, her friend Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh along with two suspected Pakistanis-- Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar -- were gunned down by Gujarat Crime Branch officials.

The Crime Branch had then claimed that the four of them were Lashkar-E-Taiyaba (LeT) operatives who had reached Gujarat to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

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