The one-man enquiry panel, which probed the issue of missing files in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, has claimed that former home secretary GK Pillai was in know of the changes made in the second affidavit relating to the case which was to be filed before Gujarat high court.
The panel noted that a draft copy of a letter addressed to then attorney general late Goolam E Vahanvati by the then Pillai on September 18, 2009 has been recovered from the computer of the office of the home secretary which refers to some discussions in the chamber of the law minister in regard to the supplementary affidavit.
The panel’s claim assumes significance as it was Pillai, few months ago, who alleged that Chidambaram as home minister “bypassed him” and had rewritten the affidavit.
“However, the fact that there was some discussion in the chamber of hon’ble law minister regarding filing of supplementary affidavit has not been recorded anywhere on the file either by the joint secretary or by the then home secretary,” said the panel which has failed to pin-point the people who were responsible for it and rather chose to conclude that it may have been “knowingly” removed or “unintentionally” misplaced.
The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides Intelligence Bureau (IB) where it was said that Ishrat, a 19-year-old girl from Mumbai who was killed in the outskirts of Ahmedabad in 2004, was an activist of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba but it was ignored in the second affidavit.
The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist.
The panel indicated that the documents might have gone missing during its movement between the Pillai and the then home minister P Chidambaram and also raised questions over the conduct of a former joint secretary D Diptivilas who had received an incomplete file.
After his over three-month long probe during which he examined all the joint secretaries incharge of crucial Internal Security division, additional secretary BK Prasad said Diptivilas, who was joint secretary between January 2008 to March 2010, has stated that he had not seen the office copy of the letter sent to the then attorney general by the then home cecretary as well as the ensclosure sent on September 18, 2009.
“What he (Diptivilas) has seen was a sealed envelope, which was got delivered to the AG’s office. He said that this letter was not a part of the file. The draft further affidavit which was put up by the home secretary on September 23, 2009 as vetted by the AG was also not seen by him and he denied knowledge of seeing this draft amended by the then home minister.”
The panel had concluded that “these papers appear to either have been knowingly removed from the file or may be unitentionally misplaced during the period 18.09.2009 and 24.09.2009 either by those who have dealt with this file during the period or by some other officer/staff under whose custody this file would have been during this period.
“..how, why and under what circumstances these papers were missing or were removed from the file, is a matter of investigation and this being an internal enquiry is beyond its purview”.