Monday, 17 June 2013

IB writes to CBI reaffirming its stand on Ishrat Jahan

June 14, 2013 - Times Now has accessed a letter written by the IB dated Feb 28, 2013. In this letter the IB talks about its stand in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case and reaffirms its version that the 4 people who were killed in that encounter were LeT operatives.

While Times Now had earlier reported about the IB’s stand in the Ishrat jahan case, this letter proves that even as early as in February this year the agency had written to the CBI asserting their position. In the letter, the IB goes on to say that it was Muzammil, the dreaded LeT operative who had inducted Ishrat. The letter also talks about a communication from the FBI to the IB on David Coleman Headley’s interrogation, in which Headley also talks about Ishrat Jahan as a deadly female suicide bomber. The agency in its letter says that Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi, LeT’s supreme commander had spoken at length to Headley about Muzammil’s accomplishments and one such accomplishment was recruiting Ishrat Jahan, a female suicide bomber.

While the IB letter brings to light the official stated position of the Intelligence Bureau, sources within the CBI continue to maintain that they do not have evidences to prove that the four people killed were terrorists and that the agency is now focusing on the fake encounter in which it believes IB Special Director Rajendra Kumar had a role to play. The Gujarat High Court meanwhile has rapped the CBI for their delay in filing the chargesheet in the case and has asked the agency to focus on the fake encounter than the Intelligence Bureau.

by Prema Sridevi  

Friday, 14 June 2013

SIT report contradicts the CBI’s stand on Ishrat

June 14 2013 - The Ishrat Jahan case is only becoming murkier day by day. While the CBI has maintained that Ishrat Jahan and the 3 other people killed along with her were not terrorists, the SIT report on the case has a different story to tell. The SIT report concurs with the IB’s stand on the controversial case that all the 4 people killed were terrorists. 

The SIT report says that Ishrat had travelled with Javed to Lucknow and Ibrahimpur in UP and had also visited Ahmedabad and that she may have understood that Javed was engaged in illegal activities involving smuggling and counterfeit currency. The report talks about Headley’s interrogation by the FBI that had revealed that Ishrat was part of a terror network. 

In the case of Javed @ Pranesh Gopinath Pillai, the SIT report states that he had a criminal past and he was involved with Amjad Ali in some illegal activities and had tried to obtain illegal firearms in UP.  The report goes on to say that he may have had links to terrorist outfits and that he also possessed a satellite phone and some unexplained money. 

When it comes to Amjad ali, the SIT report says that his connection with some terrorist outfits appears to be on sound grounds in the investigation conducted so far.  In the case of Jishan Johar the report mentions that he was identified based on a fake id card issued from Udhampur in J&K in the name of Abdul Gani and that he might have also been associated with some terrorist organization. 

The SIT in its report also says that further investigation needs to be conducted to understand the exact nature of the terror links of the 4 persons. The IB on the other hand is banking on David Headley’s confession to the FBI and the SIT report’s revelations to counter the CBI’s claim that the 4 persons killed were not terrorists but victims of a brutal attack on them. 

by Prema Sridevi 

Is ordinance route the right way?

Questions being raised on the Government’s proposed National Food Security Ordinance

June 13, 2013 - Even when the Cabinet is all set to discuss the approval of the National Food Security Ordinance 2013 in today’s cabinet meet, Times Now has found out that the populist scheme of the Congress may well set the agenda for the Party for the 2014 polls. Times Now has an exclusive copy of the National Food Security Ordinance 2013 which enlists various sops for a majority of the population. The documents and the cabinet note on food security that is going to be discussed in today’s meet enlists various schemes for the poor and the marginalized sections. 

In what could be termed as adding political overtones to the Food Security Ordinance, the Congress justifies the ordinance in the cabinet note by taking a dig at the opposition for stalling the Food Security Bill in the previous Parliament session. The note says “We introduced the National Food Security Bill in the Parliament on each working day since May 2, 2013. But the bill could not be considered and passed as both houses witnessed frequent adjournments and disruptions. In such scenario, the Government is of the considered view that it will not be appropriate to further delay the reaching of the proposed benefits to the people of the country."

If the present cabinet meet or a future meet approves the proposed ordinance then the text of the ordinance will be sent to the President for promulgation. The Government will then introduce a replacement bill in the next Parliament session and the National Food Security Bill 2011, which is pending before the Parliament will be withdrawn.

Some of the highlights of the National Food Security ordinance are as follows -

1. 75 per cent of rural population and 50 per cent of urban population will be covered under Targetted PDS system and will get 5 kg subsidized foodgrains per person per month
2. The subsidized rates are 3 rs per kg for rice, 2 rs per kg for wheat and a rupee per kg for coarse grains
3. Pregnant women and lactating mothers will be given meals free of charge during pregnancy and six months after the child birth
4. Every child upto 14 years will get free meals everyday
5. Women of 18 years of age or above to be the head of the household for purpose of issue of ration cards
6. States have to set up internal grievance redressal system
7. State’s have to constitute a State Food Commission to monitor and review the implementation of the ordinance
8. State Government’s expected to implement and monitor the scheme and ensure food security
9. All records to be placed in the public domain to ensure transparency
10. State Governments to set Vigilance Committees
11. Public servants found guilty of not giving the benefits to the citizens will be liable for penalties
12. The Central Govt and State Govts will be liable for a claim by any person entitled in this ordinance if he or she does not get her dues - except in cases of war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone or earthquake affecting the regular supply of food grains

The BJP while opposing the Congress’s ordinance route has said that there is no need for an ordinance when the existing Food Security Bill is still pending before the parliament. While the BJP has been quick to dismiss the proposed ordinance, Congress’s own allies like the NCP has said that the Food Security scheme needs to be debated in the Parliament and that the existing project is full of anomalies as it causes a great loss to the State exchequer and is also too harsh on the farmers. Even Parties like the SP have hit out at the Congress asking whether or not the Congress is hurrying the ordinance eying the 2014 elections. 

Though the Food Security scheme is definitely a measure filled with sops for the lesser privileged majority sections of the country, the question we are asking is if the ordinance route is the only way and whether is this a genuine attempt by the Congress to appease the masses or a blatant move to garner votes in the upcoming Loksabha polls. 

by Prema Sridevi

CBI- IB rift widens over Ishrat Jahan case

June 13, 2013 - In what is yet another twist to the probe in the 2004 fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) are now locked in a bitter war over move against IB special director Rajendra Kumar. 

In a fresh notice, the CBI has summoned Rajendra Kumar to record his statement as an accused in the case. CBI said his statement would be crucial in finalising the charge sheet in the case as he was alleged to have played a crucial role in generating an intelligence input about the purported plans of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. 

However IB sources have told Times Now that the agency still solidly stands by its 2004 note and maintains that the 4 people who were killed were LeT operatives. IB Sources have said “We stand by our report that the 4 persons killed were terrorist. It is the duty of an agency such as ours to pass on sensitive information to the concerned State agencies. We have not asked any Gujarat government to carry out an encounter. When Ishrat Jahan was killed the JuD and the LeT had hailed her as a martyr. This was even published on their websites. Even David Headley had told the NIA that Ishrat Jahan was a suicide bomber. It is unfortunate that an officer who was doing his designated task is today being held liable for performing his duty.” Sources have told Times Now that the IB Director has also raised these concerns with the Government and the NSA has also addressed these issues with the PM.

by Prema Sridevi 

CBI questions former Railway Minister in Railgate

June 4 Tuesday 

On June 4, when Pawan Bansal reached the CBI Guest house for his interrogation by the CBI sleuths, Times Now’s cameras followed him but Bansal refused to talk to us. The CBI which is enquiring the high profile case - which led to the resignation of Bansal as the Railway Minister – has evidences regarding many meetings between Bansal and Mahesh Kumar. Mahesh Kumar who had bribed Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla for lucrative posts within the Railway Board had held many meetings with Bansal while the latter was the Railway Minister. Some of these meetings were held before Mahesh Kumar became the Railway Board Member Staff and many others were held when he was working as the 

General Manager Western Railways. One such meeting took place on April 16th in Mumbai between the two in which Bansal had allegedly agreed to certain of Mahesh Kumar’s requests for a better posting in the Railway Board. These meetings are now under the scanner of the CBI.
During the questioning, the CBI is also expected to confront Bansal with the recorded statements of Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla, Bansal’s private Secretary Rahul Bhandari and Mahesh Kumar. CBI also has evidences regarding how Bansal’s official residence was allegedly used by his nephew to fix deals. Bansal is also expected to be confronted with the CDR details that have been acquired by the CBI in connection to the case. That apart the CBI has also acquired Mahesh Kumar’s appointment files and other related documents which points towards Bansal’s complicity in the case. 

by Prema Sridevi