Ishrat case: Govt sets up panel to probe missing files

RSTV Bureau
File photo of Ishrat Jehan (PTI)

File photo of Ishrat Jehan (PTI)

Government has set up a one-man inquiry committee to probe the issue of missing files in the case related to the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan. Additional Secretary BK Prasad will handle the probe, the government today on Monday.

Prasad, Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry, will inquire how the crucial files in the Ishrat Jahan case went missing. Ishrat was killed in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004 along with three other people.

The papers which went missing from the Home Ministry include a copy of the affidavit vetted by the Attorney General who had submitted it in the Gujarat High Court in 2009. Another draft of the second affidavit in which changes were made and vetted by the AG is also missing. Two letters written by the then Home Secretary GK Pillai to the then Attorney General late GE Vahanvati and the copy of the draft affidavit are untraceable.

On March 10, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had disclosed in the Parliament that the files were missing.

The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police and 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 was however ignored in the second affidavit, Home Ministry officials 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, 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.

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

Last week, Rajnath Singh had accused the erstwhile UPA government of hatching a “deep conspiracy” to frame Modi in the Ishrat Jahan case when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister.

Singh had claimed that the previous regime had done a ‘flip-flop’ on the links of Ishrat Jahan with terror outfit LeT.

(With inputs from PTI)