The government on Thursday informed Parliament that a few key documents with regards to preparation of the second Ishrat case affidavit are not ‘traceable’ in the home ministry and that an internal inquiry has been initiated in this regard.
Nineteen-year-old Ishrat Jahan, along with her three alleged associates – Javed Sheikh, Jeeshan Johar and Amzad Ali Rana, was killed in an encounter on June 15, 2004.
The Union home ministry filed two affidavits in response to a petition filed by Ishrat Jahan’s mother Shamima Kausar and Javed’s father Gopinath Pillai seeking a probe into the encounter.
Replying to a debate on the calling attention motion on change in the second affidavit in the Ishrat case, Union home minister Rajnath Singh listed six documents that are missing.
He said two letters written by the then home secretary (GK Pillai) to the Attorney General (AG) on September 18, 2009 are not traceable. Two more letters written by the home secretary to the AG on September 23, 2009 are missing. Also not traceable is the affidavit vetted by the AG. And more importantly, the draft of the second affidavit that came from the AG in which the then home minister (P Chidambaram) made changes is also missing.
“Some members have demanded an action in this regard. There are few questions on which a probe is required. Our internal inquiry is on. We are trying to gather all facts. After due deliberations, a final would be taken in this matter,” the home minister said.
In the first 14-page affidavit filed on August 6, 2009 in the Gujarat high court, Union home ministry, while the UPA government was in power, stated Ishrat and Javed Ghulam Sheikh, the person she was travelling with at the time of encounter, were operatives of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
The affidavit said Javed, originally a Hindu named Pranesh Pillai who converted to Islam later, had gone to Dubai and while working there he was subverted to the cause of LeT. Just two months prior to the encounter he had allegedly met LeT operative Muzammil in Oman.
LeT operative David Coleman Headley in the court deposition in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks trial mentioned Muzammil saying it was his operation in which a female operative (Ishrat) was killed.
But on September 29, 2009 Union home ministry, made an about turn and said the central government was not concerned with the merits of the action taken by the Gujarat police and anything stated in the (first) affidavit was not intended to support or justify the action of the state police.
The home minister also said that Headley in his statement to the NIA mentioned Ishrat and that stated the same in the court deposition.
“But despite requests from the CBI, the part of the Headley statement on Ishrat was not made available by the (home ministry),” Singh said.