Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday stoked fresh controversy on the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, by accusing the then Home Ministry headed by P Chidambaram of working in “tandem” with terror outfit LeT, a charge vehemently denied by Congress which demanded his immediate sacking.
In an interview to ‘TV Today’, Rijiju, who holds the post of Minister of State for Home, listed a sequence of events in the Ishrat Jahan case and said initially Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) had claimed that she was a martyr but changed its statement the day a “particular officer” was made in-charge of the investigations.
He did not name the officer but it was Gujarat IPS officer Satish Verma who probed the case.
“In Ishrat Jahan case, the first day when the encounter took place the LeT declared Ishrat as a martyr soon after the encounter. And the day a particular police official was appointed, a Gujarat IPS officer....the Lashkar changed their statement, saying they had made an error and Ishrat was not part of their module.
“See how the Home Ministry and LeT were working in tandem. It is such a disastrous thing to happen in such a great country like India,” he said.
He said he personally admired the then Home Minister P Chidambaram but the case had raised question marks on his credibility.
“...we don’t feel that Chidambaram was alone in giving a clean chit to a LeT aide. Rather, it must have been very coordinated, calibrated effort of a Congress party involving the top leadership, otherwise Chidambaram alone will not do that,” he claimed.
Reacting strongly to this, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said “this minister needs to be sacked immediately” and termed his claims as “most irresponsible and outrageous.”
“This is absolutely preposterous,” he added.
Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in the encounter with Gujarat Police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.