Modi and Ajit Kumar Doval

Since it became clearer that Ishrat Jahan and others were killed for the sake of saving Chief Minister Narendra Modi in a fake encounter on June 15, 2004, much water has flown down the Narmada river. Mufti Qayum Mansoori was acquitted along with others in the Akshardham temple attack case of September 2002. The attack on the temple was a fact, but it was not the work of those whom the trial court and the high court judged guilty. The Supreme Court acquitted them because it was a bogus charge levelled against the innocent for which they suffered so much in jail for nearly 13 years.

Another casualty of the false charges against another accused was the case of Ishrat Jahan fake encounter in which two Pakistanis, Zeeshan  Johar and Amjad Ali Rana, were also killed. The two were supposed to be in a jail in Jammu and Kashmir and ATS chief DG Vanzara and his team had taken the Mufti to verify their identity. The team simply visited J&K as tourists and did not bother to visit the jail. Therefore the question of what role IB under its chief SK Singh, and Ajit Kumar Doval, who succeeded him after a month, played, raises concern. Rajendra Kumar and three other officers played an active role in the killing. Doval’s presence in the Golden Temple in 1989, when 40 Sikh militants were killed, may have been helpful in tracing some militants. But what super cop KPS Gill did in the case of Jaswant Singh Khalra in September 1995 puts a question mark on the events. Khalra was taken away from his house and then tortured and killed, his body thrown into a canal. The police celebrated it with a dinner party at the government guest house. His painstaking work of analysing the remains of the Sikhs killed and keeping record of the crematorium and the amount of wood sold in burning the dead aroused the anger of the police. He was repeatedly warned, and then killed.  

There is a hint of this kind in what Shekhar Gupta says of Ishrat Jahan fake encounter: “What we do not know is, whether it was an operation that the intelligence agencies would sometimes describe as a “controlled killing, where you use moles and plants to lure your targets into a trap and then put them away, or was it a rogue operation, driven either by a combination of paranoia and arrogance, or to please the powers that be.”[1] One thing that is known invariably is that the “antecedents” of Ishrat Jahan militate against the “intentions” of the spooks and cannot mitigate the enormity of the crime.  

 Furthermore, it is ominous to say as Gupta does that there is a need for “controlled fallout” if a fuller disclosure is made in the fake encounter of Ishrat and others. Why should Gupta say this? Is it because he has had long contact with Doval who does not care for past operations of the agency for the assured impunity? Praveen Swami also shows close contact with Doval that he could say things on his behalf like his argument that intelligence would not survive investigation if facts are made known?  “I have his permission, though, to speculate that it may have involved the cold-blooded execution of a Pakistani intelligence officer, the illegal detention of terrorism suspects, torture, the smuggling of arms and explosives across India’s borders, and the use of false identities.

“Lawyers have numbers and words for these things: 302, 304, 364, 120B, the Arms Act, the Explosives Act.  These are the laws India’s intelligence services break every single day – to defend the Republic.

“To comprehend this is to comprehend why India’s intelligence services simply won’t – at least in their present form– survive the Ishrat Jahan Raza murder investigation. Ever since their inception, the Intelligence Bureau and its sister services have functioned without any legal mandate. This means authorisation for anything they do. Every time an intelligence officer initiates a covert operation, launches agents across the border, or engages in lethal deceptions that constitute the warp and weft of spycraft, she or he breaks the law and violates the Constitution.”[2]

Survival of India is not at stake in disclosure of Ishrat Jahan case or Chittisingpora case. Right to life of citizens of India is more important, be they Muslims, Sikhs or Hindus. The Tulsiram Prajapati case is of grave importance because the chain of command leads to Modi whose bête noir, Haren Pandya, was shot through his testicles by Prajapati. This personal angle of interest does not point an accusing finger at the leading accused, Asghar Ali. No court so far has taken a suo moto action to requisition widow of Pandya who met Asghar in Visakhapatnam jail. If Doval is that sharp, why did he not take more interest in the goings on in Gujarat, a sensitive border state like Manipur?

Gupta’s fear that one agency would be pitted against another, as CBI, a caged bird of Congress, versus IB, infiltrated with rightwing Hindutva elements. If, according to S Mushriff, Modi can stop IB from seeking the truth in Gujarat, he can now as PM order fuller details made public in the case of Ishrat Jahan. If India has remained steady after the genocide in Gujarat how can it face any upheaval for just one case? No agency can be lap dog of any political part as the motto of the central government is, “truth prevails”. Let truth live. Don’t kill it by not making investigation diaries of police in Ishrat Jahan case locked up in vaults of the MHA available in the court where the case is being tried.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was Chief Minister of UP when he had refused to supply intelligence on the kar sevaks’ unruly behaviour on the train returning from Ayodhya in 2002. The result was the Godhra fire accident. Now, under what obligation is he sitting on the intelligence gathered in the fake encounter of 2004? IB cannot be allowed to be his lapdog or of anyone else’s.

There is also a constitutional difference. India is a working parliamentary democracy. Vice-President Hamid Ansari in his R&AW chief Kaul memorial lecture wanted an oversight committee of parliamentarians to review intelligence. In the American system President Obama may order the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. For what did the Hindu extremist Dr RP Singh wanted to burn the Vice-President at the Hamdard University meeting?

Ishrat Jahan case is not just of any ordinary operation of investigation agency, but a travesty of justice and suborning of the judicial process. Even more, the members of the swat team had been queasy about going ahead in killing Ishrat. GL Singhal felt that the girl did not deserve killing. He even asked counter-terrorism in-charge Vanzara to clarify the matter. Vanzara contacted minister for home Amit Shah, who in turn sought consent from Modi. If the case is allowed to proceed to its logical end even the Prime Minister would be in danger.

Ministry of Home Affairs denying permission to give the police investigation record diaries to CBI for court scrutiny is suborning of judiciary. It is also casual “controlled killing” of Muslims who are no better than poultry in the eyes of the right wing group in power. Ishrat Jahan’s father was a poor migrant from Bihar living a hand-to-mouth life in the slums of Mumbai. Before his death caused by a fall from the scaffold of a building under construction, he beseeched Pranesh Pillani (Javed) to have mercy and arrange for the livelihood of his daughter. She got death, instead, drugged by Dr Narendra Amin, and killed on a road by Gujarat Police with guns supplied by IB.        


This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2015 on page no. 11

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