A decision to omit 19-year-old Mumbai resident Ishrat Jahan’s possible links with terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in a home ministry affidavit was taken at the political level, former home secretary GK Pillai said on Thursday.
Pillai was serving under then home minister P Chidambaram in 2009 when the government filed two affidavits in as many months in the controversial Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
In the first affidavit on August 6, 2009 in the Gujarat high court, the home ministry stated Jahan and Javed Ghulam Sheikh -- who she was traveling with at the time of the June 2004 encounter — were LeT members. But in September, the ministry made a U-turn. It said the central government was not concerned with the merits of the action taken by Gujarat Police and anything stated in the (first) affidavit was not intended to support or justify the action of the state police.
Pillai told a news channel that a change in the affidavit was not done at his level. “I would say it was done at the political level,” said Pillai.
When asked about the logic for changing the affidavit, Pillai said: “Ask the political level.”
While differentiating between the intelligence operation to trap Pakistani terrorists killed along Jahan with the encounter in which they were killed, Pillai said it was a successful operation. Reacting to Pillai’s statement, P Chidambaram told another news channel the original affidavit said A, B, C or D were terrorists, but the Intelligence Bureau’s position was that it provides only intelligence.
The IB reportedly said it didn’t charge anyone and it was the job of the investigating agencies to prove the charges against Jahan and others, Chidambaram told the channel. “The second affidavit reflected the IB’s correct position,” he said while owning up the second affidavit.