Mumbai: Former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today said the then Union home secretary G K Pillai had seen the papers pertaining to Ishrat Jahan case at least thrice and wondered why only those papers which can call the ex-bureaucrat’s bluff have gone missing now.
”The file passed the (then) home secretary’s table at least three times,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of his book ‘Standing Guard: A Year in Opposition’, here this evening, the Congress leader asserted he did only minor editorial changes to improve the quality of the language as is any lawyer’s wont in the second affidavit.
Chidambaram elaborated, “once when the draft came back from the AG (Attorney General), when he put it up to me and when I sent it back. At least three times, the file went to him (Pillai). And now they say those papers are missing. To whose advantage is the vetted draft missing? I want the draft vetted by the AG.”
”(AG) was the top law officer of the country. If the draft vetted by the AG is produced, it will prove that the AG, the top law officer of the country, has looked into the draft. I’ve nothing to hide and I hope the mystery has been unravelled now,” said Chidambaram.
Chidambaram has been under fire for over a fortnight after Pillai alleged that the second affidavit in the controversial Ishrat Jahan encounter case was filed under the instructions of Chidambaram himself and that he had nothing to do with it.
The alleged encounter took place when Prime MinisterNarendra Modi was the Gujarat Chief Minister.
”Pillai said he didn’t know anything about the second affidavit. He was on record in Guwahati in July 2013 saying that the second affidavit was perfectly justified. He changed his view now, and in a free country a person is entitled to change his view,” Chidambaram quipped.
Chidambaram, who has stood by the second affidavit, also spelled out the specific contents of the affidavit and asked what was wrong with such a document, especially when it was vetted by the top most law officer of the country, the Attorney General.
”The second affidavit says the first affidavit has been misinterpreted. The IB only shares intelligence with the state governments. Intelligence information is not a conclusive proof, it is for the investigative agency to gather evidence and present it before a court. Since the earlier affidavit was misinterpreted, we’re filing this clarification to say we’ve shared intelligence inputs with the state government,” he said.
“Now tell me, which part of that affidavit is wrong? Which sentence of that affidavit is wrong?” Chidambaram said. On the rising intolerance in the country, he said we as a nation have always been intolerant, but what is worrying now is that it is being justified.
”If the ABVP (the students wing of the ruling BJP) has its way, then our universities will become monasteries of one religion, one god and one book,” he said in response to the sedition controversy involving JNU students union leader Kanhaiya Kumar.
He said as a mature nation, we have to understand that universities will be places of ferment and fierce debates.
The former Union Finance Minister also urged the Prime Minister to believe in two-way communication, engage more with the media but conceded that communication was also a problem with the UPA government.
He rued that “the bane of our democracy is that we have started looking at the Opposition as an enemy”.