Delhi: In what could escalate war of words between the Congress and the BJP, former under secretary, internal security, RVS Mani, has come forward and revealed certain details about Ishrat Jehan case.
Mani's revelations have come close on the heels of comments on the controversial case by former home secretary GK Pillai.
Mani told Times Now in an interview on Tuesday that he did not draft the second affidavit.
"I was asked to go and file it, so I went and filed it. It was an order for me. The conduct rules for us is very clear that if I am ordered something, I have to go and execute it. Rule 3 of the CCS conduct rules is very clear about it. I cannot refuse," he told the news channel.
Mani added, "I cannot say what the need for the affidavit was, you will have to ask people who ordered it."
The former under secretary also said, "I believe in the input of the intelligence bureau. I have received the intelligence bureau's input, R&AW's input for five long years. Every time I found them to be precise, exact, accurate. In fact I have said so in the NK Ameen case in the Supreme Court, my affidavit captures about these intelligence inputs. They are doing a wonderful job."
When asked as to who drafted the second affidavit, Mani said, "It was not drafted at my level. It was not drafted at my level, two immediate seniors did not draft it as far as I remember."
And when queried as to whether it drafted at a political level, he maintained, "The home secretary is the highest serving officer in the home ministry. There is no officer senior to him in the ministry. So if, up to his level if it has not been drafted, then you can draw the conclusion that it was someone above him."
He also claimed, “Satish Verma was head of the unit of SIT and he was helped by two three cronies who were all engineering evidences. That's what I can say.”
"CBI said IB input is not believable. I refused to back what CBI said," he added.
At the same time Mani revealed, "So many officers, people chased me. In June 2013, I was burnt with cigarettes."
Reacting to the developments, BJP called an emergency media briefing late in the evening on Tuesday and accused Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram of misusing his office and trying to use the Ishrat case to frame Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
Addressing the press at BJP headquarters, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology said, "Enough suspicious circumstances have arisen from the statements of the home secretary, confirmed by the then under secretary that the decision was taken by Mr Chidambaram by bypassing them by changing the complete complexion (of the case). On behalf of the BJP, I ask as to why the affidavit was changed, for what purpose it was changed and who was pressurizing whom?"
He also said that perhaps Chidambaram was not acting on his own.
"Chidambaram was not doing it on his own. He was following order of Congress party's top high command," Prasad said.
"The former home minister must be probed but also other top Congress leaders must be probed. Did Congress party because of their political enmity compromise with the security of the nation? Did Congress party compromise with the national security due to its hate for Modi? I am talking on behalf of my party," he said.
"Were you questioning NIA, IB and RAW just to lay a trap for Narendra Modi and Amit Shah?" he asked Chidambaram.
"There was a consistent campaign against Mr Narendra Modi that he needs to be framed, Amit Shah needs to be framed by hook or by by crook. And the entire government machinery was abused. BJP demands that the government of India investigate this. We are demanding that a fair inquiry be done on the entire flip flop on the Ishrat Jahan case," he said.
Asked if he wanted a judicial probe, Prasad said "we are not closing that option."
The revelations by Mani has come after former home secretary Pillai claimed that Chidambaram had changed the second affidavit in the Ishrat case.
Pillai has said that as home minister during UPA government, Chidambaram had recalled the file a month after the original affidavit, which described Ishrat and her slain aides as LeT operatives, was filed in Supreme Court.
"Only after the affidavit was revised, as directed by the minister, did the file come to me," Pillai is quoted as saying by a media report.
The then UPA government had submitted two affidavits - one that the four, who were killed in an alleged fake encounter, were terrorists and the second saying there was no conclusive evidence - within two months in 2009.
Chidambaram had said yesterday that the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case was "absolutely correct" and as minister then "I accept the responsibility".
Chidambaram had also expressed disappointment over Pillai distancing himself from the affidavit issue despite being "equally responsible".
"Which part of the second affidavit is wrong? I accept the responsibility for this affidavit. It is disappointing that the home secretary, who is equally responsible, wants to distance himself from that," Chidambaram had said at a press conference.
"It was brought to my notice that the first affidavit was filed without my approval and it was being misinterpreted. It was my duty to correct the first affidavit. So we filed a supplementary affidavit after consulting the home secretary, the director of Intelligence Bureau and other officers," he had added, as per ANI.
Later refuting the Congress leader, Pillai told a news channel that Chidambaram had called a lower functionary in the Intelligence Bureau and totally rewrote the affidavit.
He also said that Chidambaram shouldn't say that the IB and the home secretary were on board.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi today accused BJP of spreading a lie about American-Pakistani terrorist David Headley and said it was very unfortunate that the ruling party was resorting to false propaganda.
"Congress has never supported or opposed the guilt issue of Ishrat Jahan if established in a court of law or any procedure known to law. If IB had intellignce inputs, Ishrat Jahan would have been prosecuted. Entire Congress stand was that irrespective of guilt, a guilty person cannot be assassinated or liquidated without due process of law which is what happened in Modi's autocratic rule in Gujarat," he said, as per PTI.
Insisting that India was a proud democracy where Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab face full trial upto the Supreme Court, he said police did not kill the Parliament attack convict or the 26/11 perpetrator in a fake encounter.
The point being made is that after an enquiry the matter went to the Ahmedabad metropoletan court during Modi's rule and the court's probe found that it was a fake encounter, he said.
The then state government challenged it in High Court but in vain, Singhvi said.
Singhvi said the affidavits only clarified that the guilt by IB was an input. "We have nothing to do with that. If guilty, she will be punished. But the fake encounter is not permitted."
He wondered if all this was being done because the Modi governemnt wanted to stop the prosecution of guilty policemen. "Is it intervening to lead to their acquittal?" Singhvi asked.
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 city crime branch had then said that those killed in the encounters were LeT terrorists and had landed in Gujarat to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
(With Agency inputs)