NEW DELHI: Former home secretary GK Pillai’s revelation that details on Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) links of Ishrat Jahan and her accomplices, who were killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2004, were deleted at the ‘political level’ from an affidavit submitted to the Gujarat High Court in 2009 echoed in Parliament on Friday with the BJP demanding an explanation from the Congress which was in power at the Centre at the time. Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, BJP MP Anurag Thakur alleged that the erstwhile UPA government had tried to settle scores with its political rival Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat.
“It was an attempt to fix Modi... it was a conspiracy to put in dock political rivals by the previous (UPA) government. Who changed the affidavit (in the Ishrat Jahan case), the nation wants to know,” he demanded, to the discomfort of the Congress, which later questioned the timing of Pillai’s revelations and if it was a fact that he was on the board of a Gautam Adani company.
Opposition members objected to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s decision to let Thakur speak. Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that while the Speaker did not expunge “derogatory” remarks made against his party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul by Thakur, she had expunged words used by his party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia. Kharge said words used against the Gandhis should be removed from records as it would set a precedent where people will decide “who is nationalist or anti-national.” He was supported by the NCP and Left parties. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said while Kharge was free to air his stand, since he has named Thakur, he should be given a chance to defend himself and added he had already given notice in this regard.
Thakur questioned former Home Minister Chidambaram’s reported remarks that he felt it was possible to hold an “honest opinion” that the Afzal Guru case was “perhaps not correctly decided”. As far as Pillai was concerned, the former Home Secretary referred to two contradictory affidavits submitted by the Home Ministry in the Ishrat Jahan case in 2009 and claimed that Ishrat and her accomplices’ LeT links were dropped from the second affidavit and the decision was taken at the ‘political level.’