The law ministry on Wednesday sacked its lawyer responsible for filing an affidavit in the Gujarat High Court supporting the Narendra Modi government in the 2004 alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others.
Sources said the name of the Ahmedabad-based law officer had been removed from the ministry’s panel of lawyers appointed to represent the Centre in the state high court.
The lawyer’s name was not revealed.
The sources said more heads could roll since top ministry officials were not kept informed about the developments relating to the case in the Gujarat High Court.
The law ministry will soon re-examine the affidavit filed on August 6. If need be, it would advise the home ministry to either amend the affidavit or file a fresh one to remove the impression that the Centre endorsed the Modi government’s action, the sources said.
The home ministry stood by the affidavit’s contents to the extent that Ishrat Jahan and her three accomplices were suspected Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operatives. But it distanced itself from the alleged fake encounter.
“We aren’t backtracking from it,” home secretary G.K. Pillai said. He, however, made it clear the doubtful credentials of Ishrat Jahan and others did not give anyone the right to kill them.
“Even terrorists cannot be killed in cold blood,” Pillai said, emphasising that central agencies were not involved in the “so-called encounter”.
The law ministry is said to be upset about certain references in the affidavit, particularly the one opposing a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the encounter.
It has also objected to the endorsement given by the affidavit to the Gujarat police probe into the encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others.