Rajinder Kumar headed the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) of the IB in Gujarat from 2001-05, the years that saw the riots and four police encounters in which eight people, including two women, were killed.
The Manipur-Tripura cadre officer of the 1979 batch is accused of having generated inputs labelling Ishrat, Javed Sheikh and two alleged Pakistanis Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar as Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorists who had come to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2004.
Kumar is alleged to have met Amjad and Zeeshan when they were in the illegal custody of Gujarat Police. The statements of the then crime branch inspector Bharat Patel, annexed to CBI’s first chargesheet, say that Kumar also took help of the informers who helped bring Ishrat and Javed to Gujarat. Kumar, according to the CBI probe, had met Ishrat and Javed along with P P Pandey, D G Vanzara and N K Amin at Arham bungalow in Gandhinagar where they were confined before they were killed.
A senior CBI officer associated with the probe said, “The call records, statements, material evidence and correspondence of IB during the period clearly showed that it was a joint operation of Gujarat Police and SIB headed by Kumar.” In Kumar’s tenure, the Gujarat police carried out the encounters of Samirkhan Pathan (2002), Sadiq Jamal Mehtar (2003), Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Kauser Bi (2005), and Ishrat and three others in 2004, all of whom were alleged to have been involved in plots to kill Modi. All these encounters have been questioned.
An IB officer posted in Gujarat said, “Rajinder Kumar is known as an officer who could read a terrorist’s mind merely by looking at him. His input on the Ishrat case is regarded as one of the biggest and most successful intelligence gathering exercises.” Kumar was posted at the Pakistan desk of the IB after his stint ended abruptly in 2005. During this stint, he is said to have given intelligence on Batla House, leading to another famous encounter.