An Appeal to Remedy Elitist Lobbyism Against the Rule of Law

Within a week from the shocking disclosure by a former home ministry officer that terror  attacks on Parliament and Mumbai (26/11) were “orchestrated” by the incumbent governments, this letter of Retd. IPS Officer of Gujarat adds another chapter to the story. Originally addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee, this letter is published here for BeyondHeadlines readers.

Sub:- An appeal to remedy elitist lobbyism against the Rule of Law.

Respected Rashtrapatiji,

I am a former DGP of Gujarat State and I retired form service on 28-02-2007. I have submitted a lot of evidence (9 Affidavits – 663 pages and other documents) to judicial bodies probing into 2002 anti-minority riots, on the genesis, course and aftermath of communal violence in Gujarat, subversion of Criminal Justice System (CJS) to deny, delay and derail justice delivery to riot victim survivors and fake encounters by Gujarat Police. Now I am engaged in assisting the riot affected and NGOs, as an Advocate, fighting for justice.

Recent investigation by CBI into extra judicial killings of Ishrat Jahan and 3 others, had reportedly brought out substantial evidence on the culpable guilt of a few Central IB officials, in planning and execution of this fake encounter, by teaming up with Gujarat police. The Sangh Parivar, Modi Government, self-appointed supporters and resource persons of IB have, of late, launched a vigorous campaign to get the accused IB officials immunized from arrest and prosecution. Media reported various grounds advanced by these saviors of IB to pressurize and cajole the Union Executive – The Prime Minister and MHA – for restraining CBI from performing its duty of investigating Ishrat Jahan case, as per the stipulations of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC), without fear or favor. Reports also indicate that MHA officials had summoned the CBI Director and asked him to take care of sensibilities of IB in this matter.

A few former Directors of CBI, IB and Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Shri ESL Narasimhan (former IB Director) had argued that arrest of IB officials, irrespective of availability of sufficient evidence against them, could jeopardize IB operations for internal security, besides affecting morale of IB personnel. They emphatically asserted that “the Government should have filed an Affidavit in the Apex Court stating that IB should not have been dragged into the matter”. The thrust of this argument is against the foundational principals of the Constitution of India, the canons of the Rule of Law and inviolable universal human rights and does amount to insulate IB functionaries from the discipline of legality, even though IB functions without any legal empowerment through enacted law.

In the legal perspective, if any functionary from political and administrative bureaucracy of the Union Executive – The Prime Minister to Union Home Secretary – being pressurized by protagonists of IB, does influence or instruct the CBI to take a particular direction in Ishrat Jahan case investigation, bypassing the truth and substantial evidence emerging in the investigation, they would be liable for an offence under section 186 IPC “Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions”. The Central Government, being part of the Executive has only administrative authority over CBI and investigation of cases by CBI is done on behalf and under the direction of relevant judicial authorities. As per section 36 of CRPC, only hierarchically superior police officers of the Investigating Officer (IO), viz. SHO has authority to supervise investigations.

Let us hope that nobody from the Central Govt. will venture to do the misadventure of intervening and meddling with the CBI investigation in Ishrat Jahan encounter case. Moreover, on the basis of evidence or reasonable suspicion or reliable information, or on a petition u/s 319 CRPC, if Court brings IB officials under the clutches of law, the authorities who influenced CBI investigation would be put in an indefensible situation.

The argument that arrest of IB officials would demoralize IB personnel and damage IB operations sounds like tail (IB) wagging the head (Government) and IB leadership indulging in soft blackmailing of its bosses. IB’s charter is for collection of information, through human and material resources, on threat to internal security of India and any operation with this objective is acceptable and laudatory. In the case of the premeditated murder of Ishrat Jahan and four others and Sadik Jamal, in a different encounter, a few IB officials, particularly a Joint Director, in-charge of Gujarat State (posted in Ahmedabad from 2001 – 2005) and his staff, had gone beyond their call of duty and became abettors and collaborators, with a mafia of Gujarat police officers, for carrying out the hidden agenda of Modi Govt. to eliminate Muslim youth for enhancing the image of the CM Narendra Modi.

These extra judicial killings were carried out by a selected group of Gujarat police officers (most of them are in jail since 2007 – four IPS officers – for their guilt in multiple fake encounters), who had direct extra hierarchical constant accessibility to the CM Narendra Modi and Minister Amit Shah, (arrested for the murder of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and released on bail). It is relevant to note that Joint Director IB, Ahmedabad who succeeded the controversial Joint Director, Rajendra Kumar, is not facing any allegation for involvement in any such crimes, though the “encounter specialists” of Gujarat police continued to eliminate the so called “Muslim militants, planning to assassinate Narendra Modi” till their arrest in February 2007. Strangely Jihadi groups DID NOT send anybody to attack Narendra Modi and other Hindu leaders after the imprisonment of policemen accused of fake encounters!!!

Evidence before Justice Nanavati Commission (JNC) available in the public domain, revealed the professional lapses of IB unit of Ahmedabad in failing to provide real time actionable, specific, pin pointed preventive advance intelligence about 1) the timing of return of Gujarat contingent of Kar Sevaks from Ayodhya on 27-02-2002 (this would have facilitated Gujarat police to keep special bandobast in Godhra Railway station), 2) the actual causes and course of Godhra train fire incident killing 59 Hindus – though IB agents reportedly traveled with Gujarat Kar Sevaks on their onward and return journey from Ayodhya, 3) location of extensive planned attack on Muslim settlements after Godhra incident by armed Hindu mobs 4) subversion of CJS by Modi Govt. against the riot victims and witnesses resulting in the Apex Court ordering a) constitution of Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into 9 major carnage cases, b) transfer of trial of cases to Maharashtra, c) reinvestigation of 2000 odd riot cases closed by Gujarat police, d) forming a special task force under Justice Bedi to probe into 17 encounter cases, e) investigation of a major mass rape case and encounter cases by CBI, observing that Gujarat police acted like modern Neros during riots and so on. Besides, Joint Director Rajendra Kumar persuaded DGP K. Chakravarti on 27-02-2002 forenoon to investigate Godhra train fire incident as an outcome of international conspiracy, without any valid evidence (to mobilize Hindu ire against Muslim community for political advantage and electoral dividends for BJP). The conspirators have been acquitted by the Court in this case, invalidating the conspiracy theory. Further, this IB officer had also advised Gujarat State Intelligence branch to fabricate false reports against a political party.

It is widely felt that a set of officers close to CM Narendra Modi in Gujarat police had carried out many fake encounters with the objective to 1) Enhance the image of Narendra Modi, the self-proclaimed Hindu Hridaya Samrat, as a person constantly targeted by the Jihadi groups, 2) Generate a sympathy wave among Hindus for Narendra Modi, 3) Silence critics of Modi in BJP and Sangh Parivar, 4) Project Gujarat police as an extra vigilant force successful in pre-empting any threat to VIP security and eliminating the cause of it in time, and 5) Generate a fear psychosis among the minorities.

All these facts would establish that IB officials interrogated by CBI for Ishrat Jahan case had certainly not confined themselves to their ambit of duties and prescribed code of conduct. They had absolutely no authority under law to arrest or detain any person, on the pretext of interrogation also even if they were activists of Lashkar-e-Toiba. Even if the people killed in encounters were condemned prisoners by the court, Gujarat police and IB had no legal powers to eliminate them in cold blooded murders. After all, success of Maharashtra police to arrest and secure Ajmal Kasab of 9/11 attacks on Mumbai, only had helped India to conclusively prove Pakistan’s involvement in this devilish assault on our country.

Everybody knows that only armed forces are exempted from arrest and prosecution for their operations in areas where special laws are enforced i.e. Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern states. Therefore, the deviant acts of IB officials in joining Gujarat police in planning and execution of fake encounters should be viewed seriously and any laxity would be exploited by enemies of India, propagating that minorities are not getting proper justice. This would help internationally organized Islamic Jihadis to get recruits for anti-Indian nefarious activities. Should we create a favorable ambience for such elements, within and outside India, for the mirage of IB personnel’s morale? Is the morale of IB functionaries more meritorious and valuable than the lives of Indian citizens?

The Governor of Andhra Pradesh, as a former Director of IB is an interested party in this matter and so he should not have intervened with a letter to the Prime Minister, aiming at neutralization of any action by lawful authority of CBI against IB officials. The Governor had violated the constitutional constraints and legal framework within which he had to function and particularly the letter and spirit of Article 51(A) of the Constitution of India. In fact anybody including Director IB endeavoring to protect the accused IB officials, allegedly involved in extra judicial killings, should approach relevant judicial bodies instead of exerting pressure on Union Government – an Executive Authority having no powers over CBI under law, to guide and influence the course of any investigation. If CBI buckles down under such pressure tactics and de-professionalize the investigation for helping the accused, this agency would be committing an offence under section 217 IPC – “Public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save person from punishment”.

Repeated electoral victories had arrogated and energized BJP and Narendra Modi to continue with blatant violation of structured scheme of Law and its due process. The latest instance is the case of an IPS officer – ADGP Crime, P. P. Pandey, declared by the Court as a proclaimed offender, in Ishrat Jahan case, remaining untraced since 5th May, 2013, and not being suspended by Modi Government, as per the legal requirements of Gujarat Police Manual and All India Service Rules.

The IB’s guilty role in fake encounters in Gujarat is, perhaps, the only instance, in 125 years long history of this organization, of its misuse by a State Government, presumably with the consent of NDA Government in the years 2002 – 2004. This is a dangerous trend, injurious to federalism, unity and integrity of India. The role of IB headquarters and MHA in this unholy affair should be probed deeper and remedial measures ought to be streamlined.

The President of India is the senior-most servant, soldier, protector and Dharma Yodha of the Constitution of India. Therefore, I, humbly appeal to you to initiate appropriate steps to prevent and neutralize any move from Government or non-governmental groups or persons, from impeding CBI investigation in Ishrat Jahan encounter case and other fake encounter cases in Gujarat. Any action to anoint IB officials, accused of collaboration in fake encounters, with the oil of innocence, violating the procedure established by law and through illegal extraneous pressure, would result in IB degenerating into India’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

The pivotal scripture of Hinduism – The Bhagwat Gita – emphasizes the primacy of law (Shastras) in Chapter 16, Sloka 24:

“Law alone determines what is to be done or not and so one should become aware of what is prescribed in law and perform duties accordingly.”

Tasmac chastram pramanam te karyakarya-vyavasthitam |

Jnatva sastra-vidhanoktam karma kartum iharhasi ||

With profound regards,

Yours faithfully

R.B. Sreekumar, IPS (Retd.)

Former DGP, Gujarat


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