With chances of finding any conspiracy behind missing documents in connection with preparation of two affidavits in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case extremely remote, the one-man inquiry panel probing the matter has been asked to expedite the proceedings and give report by May 31.
“I don’t think anyone deliberately mishandled the Ishrat case documents in the ministry. It is quite possible they may have been attached with some other file and that makes the task of finding them more difficult,” said a senior home ministry official requesting anonymity.
Sources said, therefore, Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi has told the one-man inquiry panel headed by additional secretary BK Prasad to speed up the probe and submit his report by the end of this month. Prasad is retiring on May 31.
The inquiry panel has already spoken to former Union home secretary GK Pillai for his version of events. The panel may speak to him again as well.
During Pillai’s tenure, the ministry filed two affidavits in the Ishrat case in 2009. First affidavit had detail about alleged terror links of Ishrat, the 19-year-old Mumbai killed in an encounter in Ahmedabad in 2004. But in the second affidavit filed more than a month later, her terror links were omitted.
Pillai had stated that the affidavit was changed at the political level, indicating towards his minister P Chidambaram. But Chidambaram has said since a magisterial inquiry in Gujarat has termed the encounter fake, therefore an additional affidavit was filed stating that it is the responsibility of state police to act on intelligence inputs provided by the centre.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh had told the Parliament that some of the documents with regard to preparation of affidavits were missing and the Prasad panel was asked to probe about it.