New Delhi: The Lok Sabha today took up a discussion on the controversy over the affidavits filed in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. Speaking in the Lower House, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the there is enough evidence to prove that ‘she (Ishrat) was an operative of LeT’ and that ‘she was on a mission to target the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi’.
Replying to a debate on the calling attention motion on change in the second affidavit in the Ishrat case, Union home minister Rajnath Singh Singh listed six documents that are missing. According to the minister, two letters written by the then Home Secretary (G K Pillai) to the Attorney General (AG) on September 18, 2009 are not traceable.
Two more letters written by the home secretary to the AG on September 23, 2009 are missing. Also not traceable is the affidavit vetted by the AG.
"Some members have demanded an action in this regard. There are few questions on which a probe is required. Our internal inquiry is on. We are trying to gather all facts. After due deliberations, a final would be taken in this matter,” the home minister said.
He said that the erstwhile government had committed mistakes in the affidavits filed in the case.
Stating that ‘not only India but the entire World is facing menace of terrorism today’, Singh said, “Any issue related to terrorism should not be politicized. Be it Ishrat Jahan's case or any other such case, there shouldn't be flip-flop by any government. But there has been a flip-flop by the previous government with regard to Ishrat Jahan's case.”
“David Headley's statement is only a reaffirmation of what UPA government said in its earlier affidavit,” Singh added.
The Home Minister was replying on the calling-attention motion for which notice was given by some BJP members led by Nishikant Dubey, who demanded a detailed reply from the government on the facts of the two affidavits filed by the previous government on Ishrat.
Earlier in the day, reports emerged that the original draft note which recorded the changes in the second affidavit filed in Gujarat HC during P Chidambaram's tenure as Home Minister has gone missing. Not just the note, even the legal opinion tendered by the then Attorney General in the matter is untraceable in the Ministry of Home Affairs files.
The record purportedly pertains to the erstwhile UPA government's 2009 decision disowning its first affidavit submitted to the Gujarat HC. The MHA had in its first affidavit stated that Ishrat and three others killed in a 2004 encounter were linked to terror group LeT.
The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides the Intelligence Bureau where it was said that the 19-year-old girl from the outskirts of Mumbai was a Lashkar-e-Taiba activist. This fact, however, was ignored in the second affidavit, Home Ministry officials said.
The second affidavit, said to have been drafted by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist, officials said.
Former Union Home Secretary G K Pillai had claimed that as Home Minister, Chidambaram had recalled the file a month after the original affidavit, which described Ishrat and her slain aides as LeT operatives, was filed in the court. "Only after the affidavit was revised, as directed by the minister, did the file come to me," Pillai had said.
Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter with Gujarat Police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on 15 June, 2004. The city crime branch had then said those killed in the encounters were LeT terrorists and had landed in Gujarat to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.