Chidambaram got Ishrat’s LeT link dropped from affidavit, says GK Pillai; BJP seeks probe
Former home secretary GK Pillai said that Chidambaram, as the then home minister, had seen to it that any references to Ishrat's Lashkar-e-Taiba links was dropped from the second affidavit.
Delhi: P Chidambaram had personally overseen changes in the Centre's affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case in 2009, as per a media report.
GK Pillai, home secretary at the time, was quoted by The Times of India as saying that, Chidambaram, who was the home minister then, had seen to it that any references to Ishrat's Lashkar-e-Taiba links was dropped.
Pillai also said that Chidambaram had recalled the file from the joint secretary a month after the original affidavit was filed in the apex court.
The former home secretary added that Javed Shaikh and the two Pakistanis killed in the encounter were LeT operatives. He also said that even Ishrat knew that "something was wrong".
"Ishrat and Javed stayed as a couple at hotels/lodges in UP and even Ahmedabad. She was clearly a cover for him as well as well as others of the module," Pillai said.
The original affidavit described Ishrat and her slain aides as LeT operatives.
Said to be filed by the home ministry in Supreme Court in August 2009, it had objected to a CBI probe into the encounter.
"Mr Chidambaram, who was then the home minister, had asked for the file from the joint secretary, saying that the affidavit needed to be reworked. Only after the affidavit was revised, as directed by the minister, did the file come to me," Pillai told TOI.
In the second affidavit filed in September 2009, as per the report, the home ministry had said the IB inputs did not proof the terror links of those killed.
"All such inputs do not constitute proof... The Centre is in no way concerned with any police action nor does it condone or endorse any unjustified or excessive action," said the affidavit.
"If on a proper consideration of the facts it is found that an independent inquiry and investigation has to be carried by CBI or otherwise, the Union of India would have no objection to such a course and would abide by such orders which the court may deem fit to pass," it added as per the Daily.
Meanwhile, seeking to turn the heat on Congress, BJP today demanded a thorough probe into the alleged change of affidavits during the UPA rule in the Ishrat case and charged Chidambaram with saving the accused.
"Former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram is caught in a separate (issue), what I believe is going to be a scandal. As the former home secretary has revealed, Ishrat Jehan's name and connection with LeT were deliberately removed from the government report. On behalf of the party, I hope and wish there is a formal inquiry which fully establishes the truth. I feel there should be a thorough probe as to what really had happened and the truth should come out," BJP spokesperson MJ Akbar told reporters, as per PTI.
Training his guns on Chidambaram, he charged him with "saving" the terrorists, and said, he was trying to "save" Afzal Guru, Parliament attack convict already hanged, even today.
"What game are you playing? What fire are you playing with? Are you not with the country that gave you everything? Don't you have any sympathy with the country that gave you everything, the country of which you have remained home minister and finance minister?" Akbar asked while referring to Pillai's remarks.
Questioned about the timing of Pillai's remarks on Ishrat case and if he was siding with BJP, Akbar said "Pillai is not supporting us, he is only supporting the truth. As a home secretary, he was in the know of everything and an eyewitness. He said the LeT connection of Ishrat was removed from the affidavit."
On Pillai's decision to speak out now, the BJP leader said "The point is, nobody knew what he knew. This is a decision that Mr Pillai made for himself. We can't control why and how he chose to do so. The fact of the matter is why are we being deflected from the reality. The point is, what he (Pillai) is saying, is it a truth or not."
(With Agency inputs)