New Delhi: Three key officers handling files in the Home Ministry related to the alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan have deposed before an one-man inquiry committee probing the missing documents of the case.
The panel of BK Prasad, Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry, recorded the statements of retired IAS officer Deverakonda Diptivilasa and serving senior IAS officers Dhamendra Sharma and Rakesh Singh in the last few days.
All the three were handling the key Internal Security-I division in the Home Ministry as Joint Secretary in different periods.
While Diptivilasa is currently serving as non-official Director of public sector Corporation Bank, Sharma is at present with Delhi government. Singh is serving in Karnataka government.
Sources said Diptivilasa, Sharma and Singh explained their respective position and reportedly pleaded their ignorance about the missing documents related to the Ishrat Jahan case.
The inquiry panel has so far not been able to trace the missing files related to alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan.
The one-member panel was constituted after Home Minister Rajnath Singh had disclosed in Parliament on March 10 that the files were missing.
Following an uproar in Parliament, the ministry had asked Prasad 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 papers, which disappeared from the Home Ministry, include the copy of an affidavit vetted by the then 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 G K Pillai to the then Attorney General late GE Vahanvati and the copy of the draft affidavit have also so far remained untraceable.
The panel has examined all officers who had handled the Ishrat Jahan related files in different periods.
However, the inquiry committee has not sought any explanation from the then Home Minister P Chidambaram and the then Union Home Secretary GK Pillai.
The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides Intelligence Bureau where it was said the 19-year-old girl from Mumbai outskirts was an activist of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba but it was ignored in the second affidavit, Home Ministry officials said.
The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by 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 the affidavit.
Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in the encounter with Gujarat Police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
Gujarat Police had then said those killed in the encounters were LeT terrorists and came to Gujarat to assassinate the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.