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Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said here on Wednesday that “intelligence officers should not be made an instrument in political slugfest” and “ingratitude is a political sin”.
Mr. Jaitley, who was speaking at the 28th endowment lecture of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), was replying to a question posed by a former IB officer, Rajender Kumar, named in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly providing fake inputs that the victim, along with three others, was headed to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2004.
Officials of the Gujarat Police gunned down Ishrat, a young woman from Mumbra, Maharashtra, and the others in 2004 based on intelligence inputs provided by the IB that the group belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba. Mr. Kumar was posted as Joint Director, IB, in Ahmedabad then. The case was handed over to the CBI which termed the encounter fake. Seven Gujarat Police officers were arrested and murder and criminal conspiracy cases slapped against Mr. Kumar and the IB officers P. Mittal, M.K. Sinha and Rajeev Wankhede. The Union Home Ministry denied sanction to the CBI in June to prosecute the IB officers.
Mr. Kumar, whose case had pitted the CBI and the IB against each other, asked Mr. Jaitley, “There is also an issue where officers of the IB who at times operate in grey areas and they are given no protection. There is no system and political motivation is even aimed at subverting the democracy. To fix the political opponents, false cases are made and they [officers] are hounded out while they cannot defend themselves. Do you think there is a need for protecting the officers of the intelligence agencies for their bonafide acts done by them in the discharge of their duties?”
Mr. Jaitley, who was taking questions from the audience comprising IB officials, replied, “I know what you are referring to. This principle applies across the board. Be it the security agencies, armed forces or police forces who operate in dangerous areas, we in public life, I mean politics, who at times could be sitting on either side of the House, depending which way the politics takes a turn must keep in mind that some institutions and their functioning has to be protected. Ingratitude is a political sin, and we have seen this across the board in those who are fighting insurgency and anti-national elements or fighting a crime of that nature and therefore in the political slugfest we don’t make them an instrument. I hope the people concerned have learnt a lesson.”
From: The Hindu