Delhi: The Congress said on Sunday that it was the duty of the judiciary to decide if Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist or not.
Addressing the press in the national capital, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, "Ishrat and three other were killed in an encounter. There was a magisterial enquiry, which found that this encounter was 'fake'. All four were killed by the Gujarat Police. They were killed in close range. When the matter reached the Gujarat HC an SIT was constituted."
"The Gujarat government under Shri Modi nominated a member in the SIT as well. SIT even said this was a 'fake encounter'. The matter went to the CBI, who then filed a chargesheet in 2013. Even they called it a 'fake encounter'. The chargesheet was filled in 2013, for an encounter in 2013. We are in 2016 and the case hasn't moved forward at all," he added.
"We want to ask why is this case not proceeding," Sibal questioned.
He further said, "There is statement by Deputy SP Goswami. It states - That time Rajendra Kumar told DG Vanzara talk to CM about it, Shri Vanzara told he would talk to 'white beard' and 'black beard' and thereafter I came out of chamber of Shri Vanzara, PP Pandey also came out. On 14th June 2014, I along with G Singhal went to chamber of DG Vanzara. GL Singhal was disagreed regarding the draft complaint as there was something to do about a girl Ishrat. but, Vanzara was adamant. Shri Vanzara also told that he approved from CM, Deputy SP said - I went to Shri Vanzara asking him to agree with what Shri Singhal wanted, but he refused saying everything was decided, he had already got the green signal from 'black beard' and 'white beard'. This is a statement under Section 164 under CrPC. If this goes to trial, then they people mentioned are liable to be questioned."
"This is why the last three months has seen a tsunami of misinformation and people were asking if Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist or not. It is the duty of the judiciary to decide if she was a terrorist or not. But three investigations, magisterial, SIT and CBI, have called this a 'fake encounter'. We demand that in the the next six months the trial is completed. The accused put in the dock and appropriate punishments given. If a person is innocent, then let the court exonerate him," Sibal said.
At the same time he questioned, "What is happening? The accused are all out on bail. Pandey, an accused and out on bail is now acting DG of Police. Singhal got a promotion. Vanzara has retired and saying that he might enter politics. The officers who were caught on tape trying to save the accused are now a part of the CBI."
On his part, another Congress leader, Abhishek Manu Singhvi maintained. "If this trial goes to court Shri Modi and Shri Shah (BJP president Amit Shah) may be summoned as accused. This entire campaign of misinformation is based on the statement of Mr Headley who has become paragon of virtue as far as BJP is concerned. It was the UPA which tried fully and executed terrorists like Kasab and Afzal. We are proud that unlike our neighbours we give a full trial to those whom we think are terrorist. But, we don't execute them in 'fake encounters'."
But three investigations, Magisterial, SIT & CBI, have called this a 'Fake Encounter': @KapilSibal
— INC India (@INCIndia) April 24, 2016
If this trial goes to court Shri Modi & Shri Shah may be summoned as accused: Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi
— INC India (@INCIndia) April 24, 2016
Meanwhile, it was reported on April 22 that a one-man inquiry panel of the Home Ministry, probing the missing files related to the case of alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, has been asked to expedite its work and finish the task at the earliest.
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi is believed to have told Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry BK Prasad to speed up the probe and file a report at the earliest as the government may have to face queries of MPs in the coming session of Parliament beginning Monday, official sources said.
Top Home Ministry officials are of the opinion that the files were misplaced and could be found if a concerted effort is made.
Prasad, a Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, is retiring on May 31 and the government wants the task given to him to be completed as early as possible.
Government does not want any delay in finding the files and wants a quick report and Prasad has been told this in clear terms, the sources said, as per PTI.
The panel, constituted on March 14 following an uproar in Parliament, was asked to inquire into the circumstances in which the files related to the case of Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004, went missing.
The panel was asked to find out the person responsible for keeping the files and relevant issues.
The papers which went missing from the Home Ministry include the copy of an affidavit vetted by the Attorney General and submitted in the Gujarat High Court in 2009 and the draft of the second affidavit vetted by the AG on which changes were made.
Two letters written by the then Home Secretary GK Pillai to the then Attorney General late GE Vahanvati and the copy of the draft affidavit have so far been untraceable.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh had disclosed in Parliament on March 10 that the files were missing.
The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides the Intelligence Bureau where it was said the 19-year-old girl from Mumbai outskirts was a Lashkar-e-Taiba activist but it was ignored in the second affidavit, Home Ministry officials said.
The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist, the officials said.
Pillai had claimed that as Home Minister, Chidambaram had recalled the file a month after the original affidavit, which described Ishrat and her slain aides as LeT operatives, was filed in the court.
Subsequently, Chidambaram had said Pillai is equally responsible for the change in affidavit.
Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter with Gujarat Police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
The Gujarat Police had then said those killed in the encounters were LeT terrorists and had landed in Gujarat to kill the then Chief Minister Modi.
(With PTI inputs)