Date: 10th November, 2013
Press note for publication
Ill-motivated malicious propaganda against R. B. Sreekumar, former DGP Gujarat, by BJP
Campaign managers of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi have redoubled efforts to enhance his image by hook or crook. Ill-motivated malicious campaign against persons who gave or marshaled evidence against culpable guilt of Narendra Modi and his collaborators in the planning and execution of anti-minority pogrom, subsequent subversion of Criminal Justice System (CJS) in Gujarat state to deny, delay and derail justice delivery to riot victim survivors and killing of 22 persons in fake encounters – are vigorously pursued by a group of crony – capitalist corporate mughals – driven Media and the Sangh Parivar. Three IPS officers, R. B. Sreekumar, Rahul Sharma and Sanjeev Bhat, who submitted substantial evidence against those responsible for 2002 Gujarat riots and subsequent illegal acts, have been victimized and defamed by spreading canards and misrepresentation of facts by BJP against them.
On 7-11-2013, advocate, Meenakshi Lekhi, in a press meet aired by the Times Now channel alleged that R. B. Sreekumar (RBS), while he was serving in Central Intelligence Bureau as Dy. Director (DD) in Trivandrum (1992 – 1995), Nambi Narayanan (NN), a scientist in Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) was falsely implicated in an espionage case and later CBI investigators had found him to be innocent. The Court had ordered Kerala Govt. to pay compensation to him. According to her, RBS had played into the hands of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), American spy organization and had thereby damaged or decelerated the pace of India’s Space Programs. Though CBI had recommended action against him, other IB officials and Kerala police officers, UPA Government (2004-09) favored them without conducting a proper enquiry and exonerated them of all charges on professional lapses. She further charged that as a quid-pro-quo of this favor from UPA Govt, RBS had prevaricated evidence against Narendra Modi about his alleged anti-minority atrocities since 2002 riots.
This version of BJP spokesperson was biased and based on blatant lies and misinterpretation of facts. The truth about ISRO espionage case and role of RBS in this matter is the following.
Facts about ISRO espionage case
In October-November 1994, Kerala Police had registered 2 cases under Foreigners Act and Official Secret Act against two Maldivian women and two scientists of VSSC for their alleged involvement in espionage activities. On the request of DGP Kerala, Director – Intelligence Bureau (DIB), had deputed IB officials under the supervision of Joint Director (JD) Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) Trivandrum, Mathew John, to assist Kerala Police in these cases. RBS, DD-SIB Trivandrum, CM Ravindran, DD-SIB Mumbai and six other IB officers were engaged for assisting the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Kerala Police under DIG Sibi Mathew, now Chief Information Commissioner (Kerala State). From IB Head Quarters Delhi, M.K. Dhar, Joint Director, was monitoring IB officials assisting Kerala Police on behalf of Director-IB.
RBS had interrogated D. Sasikumaran, Scientist-VSSC and Mariam Rashida, a female officer in Maldivian Secret Service, both arrested by Kerala Police in the espionage case, on the orders of JD Mathew John. RBS submitted interrogation reports to his seniors and Kerala Police. He did not interrogate NN.
Meanwhile on account of numerous sensational and speculative Media reports about the espionage and considering the inter-state ramifications of the case, (two persons from Bangalore were also arrested by SIT), Kerala Chief Minister K. Karunakaran had transferred investigation of espionage case to CBI. Soon an ego clash between the then Director CBI, Vijaya Rama Rao, reportedly close to the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and the then DIB D. C. Pathak resulted in CBI delinking IB from the process of investigation and ultimately reporting against the alleged unprofessional approach of Kerala police and IB officials in investigation of the espionage case to MHA in 1995. CBI had also proposed departmental action against the delinquent nine IB officials including, three IPS officers, Mathew John, RBS and C. M. Ravindran. Kerala Governments, both UDF and LDF, had rejected CBI proposal for taking departmental action against Kerala Police. But in November 1999, the Union Government – NDA Government – issued charge sheets for departmental action against the above nine IB officials, who, however gave their reply to MHA by August 2000.
Significantly NDA Government had accepted the explanation of IB officials and closed the file in September 2000, without taking any action on the proposal of CBI and consequently all charge sheeted IPS and IB officials were promoted to higher ranks. As per the Fundamental Rules, Union Government is mandated to report about any pending departmental enquiry or investigation against IPS officers during their deputation period to Central Government, to the State Governments of their cadre, in case any action is pending against them. Since NDA Government had closed the enquiry against the IPS officers and others by accepting their explanations on charge sheets served on them, MHA did not report about any pending departmental action. With the inception of UPA Government in 2004, a section of Congress leaders from Kerala demanded action against IB officials on the recommendations of CBI. Consequently the UPA Government had revived the closed file by NDA Government and commenced departmental enquiry against the nine officials, including RBS in October 2004 by appointing a regular Presiding Officer. After scrupulously following procedure in the Manual of Departmental Proceedings, a quasi-judicial process, i.e. charge-sheet, examination of witnesses from both sides, evidence appreciation by the Presiding Officer and final verdict, the Presiding Officer, the then Director General of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), K. M. Singh, now member National Disaster management Authority (NDMA) examined many witnesses including CBI and Kerala police officers also. Basing on the report of the Presiding Officer the MHA exonerated all nine officers of all charges by its order dated 28-01-2005.
So the allegation by BJP that UPA Government had given a clean chit to delinquent officers without following due process of law is a total lie and ill-motivated mischievous propaganda. In fact, it was NDA Government which ignored CBI report against IB officials and closed the file which had facilitated promotion and award of benefits to the alleged delinquent officers. (Documents are available).
Meanwhile in 1999, NN had filed a civil suit and the same is pending in District Court in Trivandrum, Kerala.
Why BJP targets RBS exclusively
Reasons for the BJP wailing over the plight of NN, after nineteen years without any additional evidence, are obvious. During the last visit of Narendra Modi in Kerala (Trivandrum on 25th September, 2013), NN had a meeting with him (NN had admitted this to Media). Reportedly, conspiracy to stamp on RBS the whole blame for NN’s arrest was taken in this meeting for generating political capital for Narendra Modi as RBS is a known critic of Modi since 2007.
Secondly NN did not come out with any evidence or information in support of his allegation against RBS’s role in booking him in a false case or submitted any additional data about the link of IB and RBS with the CIA.
It is ridiculous that a senior lawyer like Meenakshi Lekhi, misleading Times Now channel in her interviews, telling that RBS had solely fabricated evidence against NN, and got him arrested. IB officers from DIB to the lowest ranking person have no statutory authority or responsibility to take cognizance of the offences, register FIR, investigate, arrest, interrogate and prosecute anybody. Criminal procedure Code (CRPC) gives powers solely to police only. So how could RBS create evidence and get NN arrested?
Any report or information provided by IB officials in a given case has to be adjudged by the Investigating Officer (IO) from police probing the case. SIT headed by DIG Sibi Mathew of Kerala Police, as the IO of ISRO espionage case till CBI took over the investigation, had exclusive legal power to accept or reject interrogation reports provided by IB officials. In such a situation how could IB or RBS book NN and others for alleged espionage?
Thirdly NN had admitted to Media that RBS did not interrogate him. Moreover, D Sasikumaran, the other scientist arrested by Kerala Police, who was interrogated by RBS on the request of Kerala Police and orders of his seniors did not complain so far to any authority about ill treatment or fabrication of evidence against him or others. Sasikumaran did not even join NN as a co-plaintiff in the pending compensation case. Similarly, Mariam Rashida, interrogated by RBS, also did not complain to Magistrate (before whom she was presented after arrest) about any harassment by police or RBS.
Significantly NN also did not complain about any ill-treatment to him by anybody when he was produced before the Magistrate.
Interrogation of persons arrested by Kerala police in espionage case was done by officers from IB and RAW, besides Kerala Police, on specific request from the IO. The legal position is that none can interrogate or meet a person in police custody without the IO’s permission.
One should examine as to why BJP had targeted RBS alone for the so called violation of human rights of NN when RBS did not even meet him and interrogated him while NN was in police custody. In case the IO had found NN guilty of espionage on his own appreciation of evidence, how could RBS be solely responsible for falsely implicating NN in espionage case?
The strategy of BJP to defame RBS with false allegations and concocted stories was to lower and damage his image and denigrate voluminous evidence presented by him to Judicial and probe bodies about culpability of Narendra Modi as the chief architect of 2002 anti-minority genocide and subsequent deviant acts. The nine affidavits (660 pages), by RBS cover information relating to period from 09-04-2002 to 18-09-2002 when RBS served as Additional DGP – Intelligence of Gujarat State. Basing on this evidence and other information, a Special Court in Ahmedabad is scheduled to give its verdict (on 02-12-2013) on the report of SIT, chaired by Dr. R. K. Raghavan, giving a clean chit to Narendra Modi and 62 others, in the complaint against them submitted by Smt. Zakia Hasan Jafri, widow of Congress MP, killed by rioters on 28-02-2002. Gujarat State Government could have charged RBS with perjury had it succeeded to prove any nugget of evidence in affidavits by RBS, false and unreliable. But this had not happened so far. After his retirement on 28-02-2007, RBS is staying in Gandhinagar, Gujarat and assisting riot victim survivors in getting justice. His efforts along with the NGOs like Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) captained by Teesta Setalvad could, so far, get 116 accused guilty of 2002 riots convicted with life imprisonment – an unprecedented achievement in judicial history of India relating to anti-Muslim riots. This should explain the rationale behind viciously malevolent moves of BJP and Modi Bhaktas in Media to mendaciously slandering RBS.
The baseless allegations against IB officers acting for CIA is sinful. Such an allegation is not in CBI report against IB officials, submitted to Union Government in May 1995, resulting in departmental action against IB officials. Further, there was no information received by RAW officials who was also associated with investigation of espionage case by Kerala police initially and CBI later, relating to the so called CIA links.
In case information about CIA connection with IB officials, who assisted Kerala police in investigation of ISRO espionage case was known to BJP or NN, why they had not intimated this matter for further probe to relevant authorities from 1999 onwards. Even today, except vague allegations about CIA acting through IB officials behind the ISRO espionage case, no specific verifiable and probe-able information or input about this allegation is presented by BJP, NN or their friends.
In a TV interview, advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, referred to the retirement of Additional Director-IB, Ratan Sehgal, allegedly for his closeness to US Embassy. But this episode was during the tenure of I.K. Gujaral Government and if this information was true, the subsequent Vajpayee Government could have easily inquired into the matter and brought out the truth. The facts about undercurrents in the investigation of ISRO espionage case was revealed by the late M.K. Dhar, the then JD-IB in IB headquarters who was over viewing the work of IB officials relating to ISRO case, in his book “Open Secrets”.
It is a damn bluff that RBS had deposed evidence against Narendra Modi as a quid-pro-quo for his exoneration in department proceedings by UPA Government in 2005. In fact, it was NDA Government who closed the file and rejected CBI report against IB officials in August 2000, after fully accepting explanations by them. UPA Government as narrated earlier had reopened the file and conducted proceedings in which all delinquents were exonerated in January 2005. Perhaps, as a quid-pro-quo for NDA Government protecting RBS, BJP expected RBS to become a collaborator in BJP’s anti-minority communal agenda. Keshubhai Government (BJP) in 2002 August, promoted RBS as Additional DGP, with retrospective effect from 1998, when RBS returned to the State cadre on completion of his deputation in IB. If departmental inquiry was pending against RBS why NDA Government did not report this matter to Gujarat State Government in August 2000. The Keshubhai Government had deputed RBS for supervising relief and rehabilitation work in the quake hit Kutch district, (though it was not his charter of duties) soon after the January 2001 earthquake and the State Government had highly commended him for his relief work. Even Modi Government had high appreciation for the competence and professional efficiency of RBS. Modi Government in December 2001, appointed RBS as a member of Mehta Commission to make recommendations for revamping the State Intelligence Branch (SIB). Again, Modi Government had posted him as ADGP Intelligence (Int), by transferring his predecessor before completion of the latter’s tenure, on 09-04-2002, when Law and Order situation was not fully normalized after the riots.
Significantly RBS became a persona-non-grata to Modi Government when he acted as per his obligations to his oath to the Constitution of India and sent reports from 09-04-2002 to 18-09-2002 about the involvement of the Sangh Parivar in planning and execution of anti-Muslim riots, denial of justice to riot victims and other deviant acts including the misdeeds of those responsible for fake encounters. His representation to the Central Election Commission (CEC) on 09-08-2002 prompted CEC to declare the State Government’s version about public order and rehabilitation of riot victims at that time in Gujarat as false and postponed the assembly elections. This was acknowledged by CEC in its Open Order dated 16-08-2002 (see CEC website for this order).
RBS was forced even to disobey, shameless and brazen illegal written orders by the then DGP, K. Chakravarti, for not reporting details of communally sensitive speeches by Narendra Modi during the Gaurav Yatra in September 2002 to higher authorities. This order was in violation of statutory duties assigned to the State Intelligence Department in Gujarat Police Manual (GPM). This act of RBS was the last straw on the camel’s back and so RBS was transferred within 24 hours of his reporting the verbatim version of objectionable Modi speech with English translation. From 18-09-2002 to the date of retirement (28-02-2007), RBS was posted as ADGP, Police Reforms without any charter of duties.
Later RBS was intimidated by Home Secretary, G. C. Murmu, IAS, now Principal Secretary to CM Gujarat and a Government pleader in August 2004 for not revealing incriminating facts to Justice Nanavati Commission (JNC), probing into Gujarat riots, during his cross examination by JNC on 31-08-2004. He was also verbally directed for not filing his second affidavit. However, RBS did not comply with these conspicuous illegal orders (details of other illegal verbal orders are narrated in the 3rd affidavit of RBS) and threats and gave damaging evidence against Sangh Parivar during his cross examination by JNC and in his subsequently submitted affidavits (this includes audio recordings of intimidation by Home Secretary). He had also offered to unconditionally undergo narco, brain finger printing, polygraph and lie detector tests anywhere in India to prove veracity of information in his affidavits. These “rebellious but legal acts” by RBS had resulted in his supersession in promotion to the rank of DGP in February 2005. Two of his juniors in IPS were given out of turn promotions. Besides, as part of victimization, he was served with a 9-point charge sheet in September 2005 and his pensionary benefits were kept pending for two years. RBS got justice from higher judiciary and Central Administrative Tribunal in both cases. Notably all evidence presented by RBS in his Nine (9) affidavits were pertaining to his work as ADGP intelligence from 09-04-2002 to 18-09-2002 and not of period from May 2004, when UPA Government assumed charge of the Union Government.
The self evident truth is that UPA Government did not extend any favor to RBS since his retirement in 2007 in the form of even a membership in National Integration Council. It is relevant that nearly a dozen retired IAS and IPS officers are serving as Governors and in other important posts. Even though RBS has the degree of LLM – Criminology, UPA Government did not find him to be suitable for the post of member in CAT also. So, on what grounds BJP is alleging about the unholy nexus between the Congress party and RBS? It is a deplorable scandalous falsehood.
Double standards of BJP
BJP is now complaining about UPA Government ignoring CBI report against IB official’s role in ISRO espionage case, though actually NDA Government had ignored this report, whereas UPA Government had conducted department proceedings against RBS and other officials. In contrast, are the visible herculean efforts by BJP to shield IB officials like Rajendra Kumar, former JD-SIB Ahmedabad and Sudhir Kumar, former Additional Director – Mumbai, from CBI action against them, though they were allegedly responsible for conspiring and executing fake encounter killings of many Muslim youth in 2002 and 2003.
Another strange contradiction is the refusal of Modi Government in not taking further action against Gujarat police officers against whom higher judiciary and special courts, which gave verdict on 2002 riot cases had passed severe strictures. This was a legal requirement as per Rule 271 and 272 of GPM Volume III. Still nothing is done against delinquent officers in the departments of Executive Magistracy, Police and Home, so far.
BJP made a lot of sound and fury to get Union Minister of Law, Ashok Kumar, resign for his alleged objectionable action to influence CBI to alter an affidavit. Greater sinner is the Modi Government, since 2002, who forced every officer – Chief Secretary downwards - to sign affidavits to JNC, drafted by BJP advocates for favoring authors of 2002 anti-minority mass violence, subversion of CJS and fake encounters. Except three (3) IPS officers, RBS, Rahul Shasrma and Sanjeev Bhat, others have complied with this illegal demand of Modi Government and submitted allegedly false affidavits. Expectedly, there were no incriminating materials about the planning and execution of riots and other crimes in these affidavits. The 3 whistle blower IPS officers were extensively victimized and persecuted with supersession in promotion, bad postings, departmental proceedings, arrest and suspension. They could get limited justice from higher judiciary.
Association of RBS from March 2007 with Secretary of NGO – CJP – Teesta Setalvad is projected as an illegal act by BJP. CJP is not a banned organization like Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jais-e-Mohammed and Bindrawale Tiger Force. Strangely, BJP has no objection in Gujarat State Minister of State for Home, in 2011, convening a clandestine meeting of State Advocate General, Kamal Trivedi, Principal Secretary to CM, G. C. Murmu, accused person in fake encounter case and his lawyer and thereafter conspiring and designing plans for subverting CBI investigation in encounter cases and saving accused in extra-judicial killings (audio recording available). This act is against the basic functions of the State Government as the State Government is the complainant and prosecuting authority in all criminal cases as per law. This act of Home Minister and other Government officials constitutes offence under section 186 and 217 of IPC. Modi Government is protecting all responsible for this deviant act.
NN will soon realize that he will have the fate of L.K. Advani in politics and DIG D.G. Vanzara in Gujarat Police – both were treated as use and throw material for advancing career prospects of Narendra Modi.
Instead of malevolently defaming whistleblower police officers, Modi Government should initiate action against officers in departments of Executive Magistracy, Home and Police (Dy. SP to Chief Secretary), who through their deliberate acts of omission and commission had acted as facilitators, enablers and abettors of genocidal violence against Indian citizens in 2002, subversion of CJS and fake encounters (only 2 Police Inspectors were arrested for their culpable role in riots). Will BJP show guts to discipline Narendra Modi and prompt him to take the straight and narrow path in administration of Gujarat State as per letter and spirit of the Constitution of India? Can BJP and Modi Government disprove facts narrated in this press note and charge RBS with perjury, instead of making baseless and false allegations against him and indulging in Gobbelsian propaganda? RBS is willing to undergo narco and other tests to prove truth of the matter in this press note. Let words pass and deeds prove. Satyamvada Dharmamchara - Speak Truth and Act Righteously.
R. B. Sreekumar