Incomprehensible why some Ishrat files are missing: Chidambaram

Incomprehensible why some Ishrat files are missing: Chidambaram

Former Home minister P Chidambaram today said it was "incomprehensible" why certain files in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case were missing and asserted that there was nothing morally, politically or ethically wrong in the 'second' affidavit, which stated there was no conclusive evidence to prove that she was a terrorist.

"It is simply incomprehensible why some papers in the files are missing. Which are the papers that are missing? The letters written by the Home Secretary to the Attorney General, the draft affidavit sent to the AG, the vetted affidavit the AG sent to the home ministry and the final affidavit sent to the AG," Chidambaram said here.

"The papers are missing. Who gains by losing these papers? It is only those who make accusations gain. These papers will completely vindicate what I have been saying. I want to place the entire file in the public domain, including the missing papers," the Congress leader said.

He is facing BJP fire over his alleged role in drafting a second affidavit in Ishrat Jahan encounter killing case.

Chidambaram also recalled that the affidavit was filed after Ahmedabad Metropolitan Judge S P Tamang's report, which in September 2009, declared the encounter fake.

"Now, the second affidavit is not really a second affidavit...it is a supplementary affidavit. Any lawyer would know that a further affidavit is a supplementary affidavit that is vetted by the highest law officer of the country," he added.

Chidambaram, who filed nomination for the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra, said the second affidavit only has five to six paragraphs and it does not withdraw the first affidavit.

"The second para says why the further affidavit is being filed. The further affidavit was filed after Judge Tamang's report, which indicted the police and said it was a fake encounter and the persons killed were in custody for at least more than two to three days," he said.

"They were killed at midnight while they were sitting in a car and Rs 2.06 lakh were planted on their bodies. All this is finding of a judge in the Maharashtra judiciary," Chidambaram said.

He added that the fifth para of the further affidavit states that the Government of India shares intelligence inputs regularly with state governments and the first affidavit disclosed what those intelligence inputs were.

"I wish to clarify that the intelligence inputs are only intelligence inputs and not conclusive evidence and you cannot come to any conclusion on the basis of intelligence inputs. It must be investigated and prosecuted in a court of law. Now please tell me which part of that affidavit is wrong either legally, morally or politically," he asked. 

Chidambaram's remarks came amid speculation that the one-member inquiry panel set up by the Union Home Ministry, probing the missing files related to the case, could submit its report soon.

The panel headed by B K Prasad, a Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, was constituted on March 14 this year to inquire into the circumstances in which the crucial files related to the case of Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004, went missing.

The papers which went missing from the Home Ministry include the copy of an affidavit vetted by the Attorney General and submitted in the Gujarat High Court in 2009 and the draft of the second affidavit on which changes were made, they said.

The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat police besides the Intelligence Bureau where it was said the 19-year-old girl from Mumbai outskirts was a Lashkar-e-Taiba activist but it was ignored in the second affidavit, they said.

The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist, the sources said.

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.

Subsequently, Chidambaram had said Pillai is equally responsible for the change in the affidavit.

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 June 15, 2004.

The Gujarat Police had then said those killed in the encounters were LeT terrorists and had landed in Gujarat to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. 

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