NEW DELHI: In a sharp attack on P Chidambaram, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the second affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by the UPA government in the Ishrat Jahan case was "fraudulent".
Saying the encounter in which Jahan and her other alleged LeT operatives were killed in Gujarat was "honest", he asked if the Congress believed it was fake why did it then allow those officers involved in the actual shootout to get bail on the 90th day by not filing chargesheets and make them a witness. In an interview to Times Now, he said the first affidavit by the UPA government mentioning her terror links "was not ambiguous. It was as clear as day light. The second affidavit was fraudulent."
Asked if the UPA government played around with the intelligence framework, the Minister said, "Obviously." Chidambaram had on Monday justified the filing of second affidavit as absolutely correct and as Minister owned up the decision. Recalling his 2013 blog on the issue, he said he had raised questions about allowing CBI to investigate the Intelligence Bureau operations and compromising of national security.
"Obviously when the encounter took place, there were some officers who were physically present in the encounter. The CBI arrested all of them. It consciously did not file a chargesheet within 90 days. So those officers were let out on bail," he said. He claimed that those offers were then "asked to give statements under Section 164 against senior political leaders of the Gujarat government."
Those officers, he said, were not even named in the chargesheet. On Congress president Sonia Gandhi's statement that she stood by what Chidambaram said, Jaitley said the series of facts brought out by him "make out a perfect case of how a concoction" was taking place.
"This has been a tradition of this political party. After all didn't they cook up the fake bank account against V P Singh when they saw a possible threat in him becoming a future Prime Minister," he said. Fake bank accounts in VP Singh's sons' name were opened in St Kitts but this time "they were trying to fabricate a case of murder in this manner. This is the extent which the Congress party can stoop."
Asked if he wanted reopening of Ishrat Jahan files, Jaitley quoted from his 2013 blog where he had stated that governments are not immortals and they change. "But officers who are indulging in this would one day have to answer many questions. I had further said that I hope one day a Commission of Inquiry is set up to go into the functioning of CBI in this. This I had written in 2013," he said.
When pressed further if he wanted a Commission of Inquiry, he said he did not want to say anything more than what he had written in the blog. Jaitley said it was unheard in criminal law that an accused becomes a witness against an alleged co-accused. "So since they had no evidence, that's the only one they could fabricate," he said.
He claimed that a senior officer of the CBI, who was pushing for this prosecution during the period running up to the 2014 election, was rewarded with a position in the Disaster Management Department of Government. "So now if you see the sum total of the facts, you change an affidavit, you censor a paragraph of the FBI, you bring in pressure on SIT -- it had to be reconstituted three times.
"You have the Home Ministry interfering in a CBI investigation, you get the CBI to open out the covert operations of a security intelligence agency, the IB and then you have friendly bails being granted to certain people who were actually involved in the encounter in a quid-pro-quo that they should name political leaders, this is what was going on," he said.
He said the sense of truth cannot indefinitely be hold back. "Officers with a conscience are speaking out and ultimately every word of what I had written in my Blog in 2013 each fact is now being corroborated." Questioning composition of Special Investigation Team (SIT) on the issue, he said the first officer appointed by the Central government was extremely independent but was transferred to the North East.
"They made it physically impossible for him to Chair the committee," he said adding the second officer recused himself because he probably felt pressures. “The third officer and contemporaneous evidence would be available as to how his arm twisting took place in order to get him agree to a fabricated report," he said. CBI, he said, does not come under the Home Ministry and is supposed to be independent.
"Was the Director (of CBI) being called repeatedly and asked to continue with a particular officer in the SIT who could not do a frame up and then you get a CBI inquiry or investigation into the functioning of IB. The covert operations of a security intelligence agency are made public and made bare," he said.