NEW DELHI: “Her name was Ishrat Jahan and she was a terrorist.” This is what ex- home secretary GK Pillai and two other bureaucrats revealed in the last couple of days, triggering a massive row in the alleged 2004 fake encounter in Ahmedabad in which Mumbai girl Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed by Gujarat police.
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Pillai’s disclosure was followed by a PIL in the Supreme Court, seeking quashing of criminal prosecution, suspension and other actions taken against Gujarat police officers. The Home Ministry has promised to dig up old files on Ishrat which are likely to influence the CBI’s SIT arguments in the trial court where top cops and intelligence officials have been chargesheeted.
Former home minister P Chidambaram, who watered down the ministry’s affidavit in the Ishrat case, is putting up a brave face. However, his position has become untenable as the PIL has sought action against him for perjury and misleading the courts on alleged LeT links of Ishrat by censoring the ministry’s second affidavit. The accused cops are now hoping to cash in on the former bureaucrats’ revelations, blaming the previous UPA regime.
On Saturday, two more officials from the Forensic Science Laboratory disclosed that former SIT member and senior IPS officer Satish Verma, who was appointed by Ishrat’s family to be a SIT member, had threatened them during the probe.
Satish Khandelwal of the Ahmedabad FSL said the lab was raided by Verma, who was looking for photos of the crime scene. “We gave him all the photos, but he was acting rough with us suspecting that we were hiding something,” he said.
Arun Kumar Jain, ex-joint secretary in the Home Ministry, who served during 2000-2005, told Express that inputs he had handled in the Ishrat case left nothing to imagination. “IB and other inputs mentioned their links with terrorist groups and no question was raised on the veracity of reports then. As there were no new inputs in 2009, I believe change of affidavit was not warranted,” he said.
PIL seeks action against Chidambaram
Former HM P Chidambaram’s position has become untenable as a PIL has sought action against him for perjury and misleading the courts on alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba links of Ishrat Jahan by censoring the ministry’s second affidavit in the case.