New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday said it has found no evidence to back the allegations made against the agency’s Joint Director A.K. Bhatnagar in connection with a fake encounter case in Jharkhand.
“Till now, no evidence has surfaced on record during the investgation conducted so far against Bhatnagar, the then Inspector General of the Jharkhand Police,” a CBI spokesperson said here.
The spokesperson said that the Bakoria/Bhalu Vahi encounter case was registered in compliance with the October 22, 2018, orders of the Jharkhand High Court relating to the attack and firing on police personnel by CPI-Maoist extremist elements.
He said the case was initially registrered in Daltonganj in Palamu district of the Jharkhand.
The CBI official’s remarks came after agency Deputy Superintendent of Police (Interpol) N.P. Mishra, in a September 25 letter to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), requested Bhatnagar’s removal from the agency alleging “his involvement in a fake encounter of 14 innocent people in Jharkhand”.
Bhatnagar is a Joint Director (Administration) in the CBI.
Mishra, in his letter, has said that to protect the integrity of the enquiry being conducted by the CBI, Bhatnagar’s services should be terminated as he may be in a position to influence the investigation.
He also alleged in the letter that the families of the fake encounter victims have already objected to Bhatnagar’s posting in the CBI.
Mishra pointed out Bhatnagar’s alleged involvement in various corrupt activities, claiming that a number of other people have informed the authorities on several occasions about such malpractices.
Meanwhile, sources in the probe agency refuted the claims of differences between CBI cadre officers and Indian Police Service (IPS) officers posted in the CBI. They claimed that everyone in the agency was on the same page.
Speaking about Mishra, the source said: “This person (Mishra) in the past has also given similar complaints against other officers. He himself is an accused in a custodial death case.”
“He also stands transferred to Visakhapatanam but that is on stay. This transfer order was issued (on November 2018) before Bhatnagar took over as Joint Director Administration in April 2019,” the source added.
He said the letter was an attempt to disrupt the transfer of personnel stationed at one place for long.
One source said that civil servant directly cannot write directly to the PMO. “It’s done only through the department head,” he added.
Last year, then CBI director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana had accused each other of being involved in corruption cases.
Following the infighting in the country’s premier probe agency, the government on October 23 sent both of these officers on forced leave.