The government is verifying alleged coercion complaint by a former home ministry official against CBI-SIT officials investigating the Ishrat Jahan encounter case even as it is in no hurry to reply to Congress and BJP's demand to clarify whether Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Headley had described the Mumbra teenager as operative of the proscribed group.
Urban development secretary Sudhir Krishna said the ministry was now examining deputy land and development officer RVS Mani's June 24, 2013 complaint against officials of the CBI-SIT team, particularly then inspector general Satish Verma who was assisting the CBI in the probe. Mani as under secretary in home ministry was responsible for submitting the two 2009 affidavits filed by the ministry before the Gujarat HC.
While the CBI has denied any coercion on part of its officials in the probe, the matter seems to be more complicated as home ministry has found statement of Headley in its file pertaining to the encounter. After a senior Congress leader and BJP demanded clarification from the home ministry on whether Headley had mentioned Ishrat Jahan module in interrogation by the NIA on July 5, the home ministry found the NIA note (UO NO 04/2009/NIA/16/104 dated October 13, 2010) in its Ishrat Jahan file confirming the same.
It is understood that the NIA note was shown to home minister Sushilkumar Shinde the same day, who in turn informed the highest levels of government within hours.
RVS Mani in his complaint has said he should be allowed to engage a lawyer and from now his further statements should be recorded in the presence of chief vigilance officer of the UD ministry or his representative as Satish Verma pressurised him to say that the draft of the affidavit was brought to him by now IB special director Rajinder Kumar — who is under CBI scanner, a charge Mani denied.
"I will not comment on anything that happened while I was discharging my official duties. Period," said Verma.
Mani has stated that Verma alleged he was colluding with Rajinder Kumar and he knows the IB officer very well. Mani has denied the charge.
Verma, according to Mani's complaint, also alleged they all were stooges of the IB as one needs clearance from the IB to become the home secretary. He included senior IPS officer Karnal Singh in the category of IB stooges who headed the SIT formed by the Gujarat high court to look into the case. Mani says Verma narrated to him how he fought with Karnal Singh after which Singh left the SIT.
Mani added that at the end, Verma dictated a note saying two IB officials came to the room of his senior officer with a draft affidavit, which was put up for approval and filed in the court in June, 2009. On the order of the then home minister, another affidavit was drafted and filed in September, 2009.