Three statements, in less than a month, have brought the Ishrat Jahan case back into the spotlight.
Terror accused David Coleman Headley, former union home secretary GK Pillai and RVS Mani, who had filed two affidavits in 2009 as an undersecretary in the home ministry, have all added steam to the political slugfest between the BJP and the Congress.
While the Ishrat Jahan issue seem to have grabbed the attention of the political class, adding to protests in Parliament, they may have little bearing on the encounter case that has been lodged by the CBI against more than a dozen Gujarat police officials in this regard.
Some NDA MPs now plan to move an adjournment motion in Parliament on the issue after Mani’s claim that he was forced to sign the second affidavit on Ishrat Jahan who was killed in an allegedly ‘fake’ encounter in June 2004.
Headley and Mani had actually made the same remarks years ago, but they went unnoticed.
The BJP had latched onto Headley’s statement to ‘prove’ that Ishrat was actually a terrorist, after being at the receiving end of scathing attacks by the Congress and the opposition over the fake encounter. Now, it wants to use Mani’s statement to underscore the political vendetta of the then ruling Congress-led government against BJP and Narendra Modi.
Legally, however, these statements are unlikely to add fresh impetus to the courtroom drama. Four Intelligence Bureau officials, including former special director Rajinder Kumar, have already been granted relief in the case. Though chargesheeted in the case, Home Minister Rajnath Singh refused sanction to prosecute them as he didn’t find the CBI case strong enough. The case against the Gujarat police officials are ongoing.