NEW DELHI: Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on Thursday downplayed Ishrat Jahan's lawyer Vrinda Grover’s criticism that David Coleman Headley's version was not evidence as per Indian law as he was given a ‘multiple choice question’ by a ‘Padma Shri’ lawyer, saying that he posed the question based on information received from the concerned intelligence agencies.
“You might have noted that when I put this question to David Headley, then I was very clear that how many wings were operating in Lashkar and David Headley had clearly said that there was a women wing, finance wing as well as the overall militant operation wing then I did ask that who was the in-charge of the women wing. So, there was no question at all which would lead David Headley to say a particular answer,” Nikam told the media here.
“When he had categorically said that Muzammil Bhat told him and he also said that as to why Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhavi was upset and annoyed by his botched operation. And, therefore, I did ask him how you came to know about that botched operation. Then he told that Muzammil Bhat told me that this had happened. In fact, I did not put any particular name of the woman attacker of LeT and in fact I had given in all fairness various options which I came to know from our investigating officers. And, therefore, I put three, four names; out of which, Headley selected one name,” he added.
Nikam further said the NIA has already made investigation in this respect.
“I am not aware as to what David Headley told the NIA. I am only supposed to interrogate David Headley on oath and I had discharged my duty,” he added.
Ishrat Jahan's lawyer has said that certain questions have been put to Headley by the prosecutor, which have nothing to do with the 26/11 case.
“I don’t know why suddenly these questions were put. They can have a political relevance, but they can have no relevance to 26/11…The public prosecutor in a procedure which is wrong and illegal in law gives a multiple choice question to a witness and says ‘now I will give you three names you select one name which will be that female LeT person’,” said Grover.
“He gives this three multiple choices and he says ‘Noor Begum, Ishrat Jahan and Mumtaz’. He (Headley) selects Ishrat Jahan. This is double hearsay and he is saying I have no personal knowledge,” she added.
Throwing light on the Ishrat Jahan case, Grover further said, “We were told that there was an encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in June 2004in which Ishrat Jahan – a young girl from a very poor family of Mumbra was found dead – and we were told that these were terrorists. That matter came up for investigation because her mother said my daughter is not a terrorist and she filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court. The Gujarat High Court after many years of our pursuance they investigated the matter. There was a Special Investigation Team set up by the Gujarat High Court.”
“The investigation said this was a fake encounter, these people had been taken into illegal custody by the police, they were detained and then they were killed in cold-blood and the whole thing was a staged encounter. After that the CBI also investigated into it and found that it was a cold-blooded murder. Chargesheets were filed and they are pending in the Gujarat court against senior police officials of Gujarat as well as the IB officers that this was a larger criminal conspiracy,” she added.
Grover further said investigation and the witnesses clearly point to political people, who were behind this conspiracy in this case.
“For reasons best known to the CBI, the investigation was abruptly closed and that line of investigation was not taken further,” she added.
Ishrat, who was from Mumbra in Mumbai, was shot dead along with three men in Gujarat in 2004 by police officers who claimed that they were terrorists involved in a plot to kill Narendra Modi, then the Chief Minister.