Distancing himself from the controversy over Ishrat Jahan’s antecedents, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Tuesday said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) hadn’t reverted to him regarding the contents of US national and Lashkar terrorist David Headley’s interrogation report and insisted that its details could not be made public.
Shinde had promised to seek a factual report after Congress leader Digvijaya Singh recently asked the home ministry to reveal Ishrat’s antecedents in the light of reports that Headley had referred to the “Ishrat Jahan (terror) module” during his interrogation.
On Tuesday, Shinde emphasised that he hadn’t received the report. He said: “Whatever Headley has said, it was before FBI. And we have an agreement with FBI (to maintain secrecy).”
Shinde’s reference to the agreement, however, has come three years too late. Security agencies had informally put out the executive summary of Headley’s interrogation report in September 2010. On Tuesday, a scanned copy of the report was also put up online.
An NIA team had first questioned Headley for 34 hours in June 2010 in the US.
Though the initial NIA report hadn’t mentioned Ishrat, an NIA note surfaced in home ministry files within the last fortnight — first reported by HT on Sunday — that claimed Headley had heard about the “Ishrat Jahan module”.
The antecedents of the 19-year-old girl aren’t central to the CBI probe into the fake encounter, but are at the heart of the BJP campaign to criticise the UPA government for harassing Gujarat police officers who killed terrorists in a “genuine” encounter.