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Ishrat Jahan case: Fake controversy created by NDA govt exposed, says P Chidambaram

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:50 IST

Congress leader and former Home Minister P Chidambaram has said that the "fake controversy created by the NDA government" in connection with the Ishrat Jahan has now been exposed.

On 15 June, the Indian Express reported that BK Prasad, the head of the committee that is probing the missing documents in the case, had apparently told at least one witness about the questions he would ask and the answers he is required to give.

The BK Prasad-led committee was constituted on 10 May after it was learned that the then-UPA government had filed a second affidavit that dropped references to Ishrat's alleged links with the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

A day after the report was published, Chidambaram said that the "five missing documents completely vindicate" his position. In a statement, accessed by the Indian Express, Chidambaram said:

The news report published in The Indian Express today (16 June 2016) comprehensively exposes the fake controversy created by the NDA government on the two affidavits filed by the Central government in the Ishrat Jahan case. The Indian Express report completely vindicates the position that I had taken on the two affidavits.

The first affidavit (6 August 2009) disclosed the "intelligence inputs" that had been shared by the Central government with the State government. Judge Tamang in his report (7 September 2009) found that Ishrat Jahan and three others had been killed in a fake encounter. The report caused an uproar in Gujarat and elsewhere. The first affidavit was misinterpreted and misused to defend the encounter. It was, therefore, necessary to clarify the first affidavit.

Hence, a 'further affidavit' was filed (29 September 2009) clarifying that intelligence inputs "do not constitute conclusive proof and it is for the State government and the State police to act on such inputs," said Chidambaram in a statement released, according to an Indian Express report.

The contents of the 'further affidavit' (especially paras 2 and 5) are absolutely clear and correct. It is unfortunate that most people who commented on the matter had not cared to read the 'further affidavit'.

The five "missing" documents completely vindicate the position I had taken. The sequence of events conclusively establish that we had acted in a totally transparent manner. The draft of the 'further affidavit' was vetted by the Attorney General, the highest law officer of the country, before it was filed. The file passed through the hands of the Home Secretary at least 3 or 4 times. Ultimately, the 'further affidavit' was filed in Court on the orders of the Home Secretary.

Of course, I take full responsibility for filing the 'further affidavit' which was absolutely the correct thing to do.

The moral of the story is that even a doctored report (of the Inquiry Officer) cannot hide the truth. The real issue is whether Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in a genuine encounter or a fake encounter. Only the trial of the case, pending since July 2013, will bring out the truth.

First published: 16 June 2016, 11:11 IST