Witness 'tutored' in Ishrat files case

Witness 'tutored' in Ishrat files case

Witness 'tutored' in Ishrat files case
A fresh controversy erupted in the Ishrat Jehan case on Thursday.  It is claimed that a senior Ministry of Home Affairs official, probing the missing files on Ishrat, had tutored a key witness about the questions likely to be asked.  

While Home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi "hotly denied" the incident, the Congress seized the opportunity to target the NDA government and demanded that the Supreme Court take suo motu action in the case.

Trouble started when a national daily published a report saying MHA additional secretary B K Prakash, who was conducting the probe, had told former ministry official Ashok Kumar about questions he would be asked.

Prakash also asked Kumar, presently joint secretary (Parliament, Hindi Division), to say he had not seen the missing documents. The missing files related to the Ishrat Jehan fake encounter case had triggered a political storm earlier, with the government accusing the then Home minister P Chidambaram of changing an affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court. The files related to the change in stand were missing, according to the government.

Following this, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had ordered a single-member panel to look into the missing files and Prakash had summoned eight officers from the Internal Security Division. On Wednesday, he submitted a report, saying some files are still missing.

Prakash said there was no evidence to establish that the officer (Kumar) testified to being ‘tutored’. “I have conducted a free and fair inquiry, and my report will reveal this," he said.

In a statement, Chidambaram accused the Centre of creating a "fake controversy" over two affidavits filed in the Ishrat case and preparing a "doctored" report on the missing files.

“The moral of the story is that even a doctored report cannot hide the truth,” he claimed, adding, “The issue is whether Ishrat and three others were killed in a genuine or fake encounter in 2004. Only the trial, pending since July 2013, will reveal the truth.”