National Investigation Agency (NIA) has said that the reports that David Coleman Headley (arrested by US agencies for terror links) had talked about Ishrat Jahan, killed in police encounter in 2004, were baseless.
Central government's counsel, Pankaj Chapaneri, submitted a letter by NIA in this regard to the Gujarat High Court today. The division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari had directed the NIA last month to furnish information about the Ishrat case, as requested by the special investigation team (SIT).
NIA's letter was produced in the court by the central government's counsel, Pankaj Champaneri. "Aversion made regarding David Colman Headley making statement on Ishrat Jahan is purely in the nature of hearsay, it does not have any evidentiary value," the letter says. NIA had been given a conditional access to Headley by the US authorities.
It was widely reported in newspapers last July that David Headley had told the investigating agency that Ishrat was a suicide bomber, belonging to the banned outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. Reports said that Headley had shared this information with a team of NIA which questioned him at Chicago prison. Ishrat, along with three others -- Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar -— was killed in a police encounter on June 15, 2004.
City crime branch had claimed that the deceased were LET terrorists who had come to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. But later High Court ordered fresh probe into encounter by a Special Investigation Team.