Amid a raging controversy over his comments on Ishrat Jahan and the two affidavits that were filed regarding her encounter, former Union home secretary GK Pillai on Friday said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) did not inform him about LeT operative David Coleman Headley’s statement on Ishrat.
“The NIA directly told the minister about it and not me. I was given a report pertaining to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks probe. I didn’t see any report on Headley mentioning Ishrat in his statement as far as I can recollect. From the minister, it may have gone to the division concerned,” said Pillai.
Pillai, who was the Union home secretary between June 2009 and June 2011, also said he now realised his folly of not noting down in the file that the second affidavit in the case was dictated by his then minister P Chidambaram.
“In hindsight, I should have noted down in the file on the second affidavit something like ‘as dictated by the minister’, but you trust your officer. When the joint secretary concerned came and told me that the second affidavit was dictated by the home minister, I didn’t have any reason to doubt it. In fact, the officer concerned was very much shaken,” Pillai said.
The former home secretary did not put any dissent note or object to the second affidavit that did not mention any terror links of Ishrat. In the first affidavit, Ishrat and her alleged associates were clearly linked with terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. “But then, the minister as political boss, was well within his competence to change the affidavit,” added Pillai.
With the former home secretary now raising questions over the requirement of filing the second affidavit, his three-year-old statement has also surfaced in which he said Ishrat has to be given the benefit of the doubt.
When asked about his 2013 statement, Pillai said it was in a particular context. “The context was to not vilify a dead person unless further probe threw up more evidence. Even now I say that the only thing that raises suspicion is that she was roaming with Javed Sheikh and this needs to be probed further,” Pillai said.