Chidambaram defends UPA Govt affidavit in Ishrat case

RSTV Bureau
Mumbai: Congress leader P Chidambaram with his senior party colleagues Prithviraj Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde and Ashok Chavan, at Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai. Photo-PTI

Mumbai: Congress leader P Chidambaram with his senior party colleagues Prithviraj Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde and Ashok Chavan, at Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai. Photo-PTI

Congress heavyweight and former Union Home minister P Chidambaram is officially out of his brief political hibernation. Addressing press conference soon after filing his Rajya Sabha nomination on Tuesday, Chidambaram strongly defended the Congress-led UPA government’s move to file an affidavit in Ishrat Jahan matter, which said there was no conclusive evidence to prove she was a terrorist.

The ruling BJP has come down heavily on the former Home Minister alleging his intervention in drafting a second affidavit in Ishrat Jahan encounter killing case.

“Tell me which part of that affidavit is wrong legally, morally or politically, which sentence or word in the further affidavit was wrong legally, politically and ethically,” P Chidambaram said, adding “please remember the further affidavit was vetted by the Attorney General of India”.

Defending the affidavit further, he recalled that it was filed after Ahmedabad Metropolitan Judge SP Tamang’s report, which in September 2009, declared the encounter fake.

Later probes, first by SIT and then by CBI, had also said that the deceased had been in the custody of the police and that weapons recovered from them were planted by the policemen.

File photo of Ishrat Jehan (PTI)

File photo of Ishrat Jehan (PTI)

“The version says it is fake encounter. The persons, who were killed, were in custody for more than two or three days. They were killed at midnight. They were killed while they were sitting in the car. 2.06 lakh were planted on their bodies. All this is finding of a judge in the Maharashtra judiciary,” P Chidambaram said.

“The further affidavit has only five or six paragraphs. It does not withdraw the first affidavit. In paragraph two, it says why a further affidavit is being filed and in para 5 it says that the government of India shares intelligence inputs regularly with states. Accordingly, we share intelligence inputs,” he added further.

P Chidambaram had served as Union Home Minister during the Congress-led UPA government from November 2008 to July 2012. He will now be making a political comeback as the member of Upper House after two years hiatus post 2014 general elections that spelled disaster for his party.

The former Home Minister’s remarks had come amid speculation that the one-member inquiry panel set up by the Union Home Ministry, probing the missing files related to the case of alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, could submit its report soon.

“It is incomprehensible why some files are missing,” he said.

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.

According to reports, 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.

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

(With inputs from the PTI)