Ahmedabad: In a major development, former home secretary GK Pillai on Tuesday claimed that the SIT report submitted in the Gujarat High Court did not say that Ishrat Jahan, who was gunned down by the Gujarat police in 2004, was not a terrorist.
However, the former bureaucrat admitted that her cold-blooded encounter by the Gujarat’s Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) officials on June 15, 2004 was indeed false.
Pillai further claimed that the input received from the intelligence agency about Ishrat Jahan – a suspected LeT agent - was absolutely correct.
Pillai made this remarks while speaking to a leading TV news channel. His statement comes two days after the Gujarat High Court upheld the SIT report, which concluded that Ishrat’s encounter was stage-managed by Gujarat police officials.
Countering the claims of ‘Ishrat’s innocence’ being made by her family in the wake of the SIT report, Pillai said, “The SIT report only said that her encounter was fake but it did not clear her name from being a LeT terrorist.”
To drive his point home, Pillai said, “When I was the Home Secretary I had seen the input received by the intelligence agencies about her suspicious activities and links with the militant outfit LeT. The Intelligence Bureau then clearly warned that a LeT terror module was planning to eliminate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.”
He even said that Ishrat’s name was mentioned as a martyr on LeT’s website but it was later removed.
The sensational claims made by Pillai are likely to bring a major twist in the infamous encounter case, which has severely dented Modi government’s credibility.
On November 21, a division bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice Abhilasha Kumari directed the police to book the accused including former DIG DG Vanzara for murder under Section 302 of the IPC.
The SIT in its report said Ishrat and three others were killed prior to the encounter date of June 15, 2004. The bench ordered that a separate FIR under section 302 (punishment for murder) should be filed in the concerned police station against those police officers who were involved in the shootout.
The SIT headed by RR Verma had submitted the report to the court last Friday.
Thane girl Ishrat Jahan, her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai and two suspected Pakistani nationals were gunned down by DCB on June 15, 2004.
The probe in the sensational case was supervised directly by the Gujarat High Court which had constituted the SIT last year to investigate genuineness of the encounter after petitions were filed by Ishrat's mother Shamima Kausar and Gopinath Pillai, father of another victim of the encounter Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai.
Those accused in the case include then JCP (crime branch) P P Pande, suspended DIG DG Vanzara, then ACP G L Singhal and ACP N K Amin -- all IPS officers. There were total of 21 policemen, including the IPS officers, involved in the encounter.
Vanzara and Amin are also accused in the Soharabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and murder of Sheikh's wife Kausar Bi and are presently behind bars.
With PTI Inputs
First Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 14:45