Ishrat case: Law Ministry refuses to give legal opinion on sanction

Citing insufficient documents, the Law Ministry has refused to give legal opinion to the CBI on whether sanction is needed to prosecute Intelligence Bureau officers in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.

The government’s legal arm has told CBI to bring sufficient documents before a legal opinion can be provided on whether prior sanction is required to prosecute Special Director Rajinder Kumar (now retired), and three other officers — P Mittal, M K Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede.

CBI had recently approached the Law Ministry through the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) seeking a legal opinion.

It is learnt that when the Law Ministry demanded documents, the CBI informed it that it would share the documents with the Attorney General but cannot give copies as the papers were sensitive in nature.

Law Ministry had then suggested that a CBI officer can bring the documents to allow its officers to examine the papers before they can move further.

The Law Ministry would also prefer the Home Ministry – the administrative ministry of Intelligence Bureau – to give its views on the questions raised by CBI on sanction to prosecute.

CBI says it has gathered enough evidence about the role of IB officers in the conspiracy behind the encounter but there are contrary views on whether sanction from Home Ministry is needed to prosecute them.

One view holds that since Kumar was in active service at the time of the alleged crime, sanction for his prosecution is needed from Home Ministry, which is the cadre controlling authority.

Another opinion was that since he retired from service in July this year, the agency could go ahead with its charge sheet without any need for a sanction to prosecute.

If Law Ministry says that a nod from the Home Ministry was needed, CBI would send a request seeking sanction to prosecute the officers.