No conclusive evidence that Ishrat was a terrorist: Chidambaram
Facing BJP fire over his alleged role in drafting a second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan encounter killing case, former Home Minister P Chidambaram today asserted there was nothing morally, politically or ethically wrong in that affidavit which said there was no conclusive evidence to prove she was a terrorist.
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.
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.
"The version says it was a 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. The Rs 2.06 lakh were planted on their bodies."
All this is the findings of a judge in the Maharashtra judiciary.
"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.
"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," Chidambaram told reporters here.
The former Home Minister'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 of alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, could submit its report soon.
"It is incomprehensible why some files are missing," the former Home Minister said replying to questions.
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 to 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.