It's unlikely, Ishrat Jahan was Lashkar terrorist: Former SIT chief Satish Verma
Mani was an employee of GOI, nobody could think of torturing him, says Satish Verma, former SIT chief.
Delhi: Reacting to the allegations of former under secretary for internal security at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) regarding the Ishrat Jahan case, former SIT chief Satish Verma said on Wednesday that RVS Mani's claims about him being tortured was wrong.
"Mani's allegations are old, this the third time he has said these things, there's nothing new in what he has said. Mani was an employee of GOI, nobody could even think of torturing him," Verma told a news channel.
In an interview with India Today TV channel he added, "Affidavit that Mani filed was as per the facts given to him by IB. Would any reasonable person believe what Mani is saying. In RVS Mani's statement there is no mention of any leader or party, he implicates none."
On the controversial case he opined, "Four persons got killed, one of them was Ishrat Jahan, two of them were suspected to be Pakistani. Another person killed was an Indian national, these are facts. There was no evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist beyond the text posted on a website. RVS Mani was a low-ranking officer in home ministry, was just collating all the details of the case. Mani's affidavit read like Gujarat Police report."
"Statements of GK Pillai and RVS Mani are politically motivated. It was a unanimous decision of three member SIT that the Ishrat encounter was fake. It was a premeditated murder. First intelligence report never mentioned Ishrat, evidences put by Mani were ridiculous. It is unlikely that Ishrat could have been a Lashkar terrorist. No one tried to fix Narendra Modi, I did not have any reason to do so. There was no political pressure on me during the investigation. National security can't become a defense for premeditated murder of a 19-year old girl," Verma told the TV channel.
On the other hand, Mani has said, "I filed the first affidavit, it was approved by the home ministry and then law secretary before it was filed. What was reason for the second affidavit, I don't know. I signed the document because as per the conduct rule three, when an order is received on the file, I have to execute it because before an order is issued by a competent authority or a senior officer, I can put my view points."
Mani said after a decision is taken, it has to be executed and so he was authorized to sign the affidavit.
"The Intelligence input conclusion is after the event occurs. I am absolutely neutral person, I have no agenda. The IB is working very hard, there is no margin of error. The home secretary is a very upright officer. Pillai is an excellent officer and a man of very high integrity. So, I have no reason to disbelieve what he has said," he added, as per ANI.
Putting Congress in a spot, Mani pointed out that in the first affidavit he had given every detail of Ishrat and none of the facts were denied.
"He (P Chidambaram) has only said that IB inputs are not conclusive. If they were not conclusive, he should have said. We have something else to the contrary," he said.
Mani also alleged of harassment by ex-SIT chief Satish Verma, adding that it is for Verma to answer whether he was working on someone's direction.
"Cigarette butts were put on my thighs and so many things happened. The interrogation started at around 9 am, then Satish Verma joined the interrogation at 10:30 am, went up to 2:30-3 pm in polite manner. After that he (Satish Verma) started narrating nonsense. He became physical after 4 pm. I informed the seniors. I have already put an affidavit in the Supreme Court," he said.
Mani further alleged that Verma forced him to take the name of former IB Special Director Rajendra Kumar in bringing the affidavit.
"I said that is not the truth, I am competent. I don't require an IB Officer to walk in and say sign the affidavit. I did not give in to his (Satish Verma) pressures. At 5 p.m., I said this is not right, my wife will go to Chief Justice's house and we have contacts there," Mani added.
The former undersecretary for internal security also said that his phone was snatched and he was threatened to taken into custody.
"Pillai was not the home secretary. By then, the tenure had changed. RK Singh had come. The procedure is I had to report to the office where I am working. They will forward it to the concerned ministry. In this case, at that time, I was posted in Ministry of Urban Development. I recorded all these things. I put it up to my seniors. I believe that they must have forwarded it to the minister of home affairs," he said.
Mani also said that he expected the government to protect his interest.
"I have seen the file, I will use the word cross fire not encounter. If inquiry into cross fire or encounter was the only mandate of the SIT, why was I called for the investigation. I was not posted in 2004 in MHA, I came in 2005 or so. Legal Attache in the US embassy Daniel had also written saying that it (Ishrat being a terrorist) is true" he said.
In a startling revelation, Mani said earlier that he was coerced to file the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case.
The second affidavit is the one in which the references to the alleged links of Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were removed.
Mani's shocking claims come just a few days after former home secretary GK Pillai revealed that someone at the political level did not want the real picture to come out in the Ishrat case.
Pillai had mentioned that two affidavits submitted by the home ministry in relation to the case were contradictory to each other.
The former home secretary had said there was no doubt that those killed in the alleged fake encounter in Gujarat had links with LeT.
Ishrat was one among four people killed in an alleged fake encounter case in 2004.
Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai besides two Pakistani nationals Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar Abdul Ghani, all alleged LeT terrorists, were also killed in the encounter.
(With ANI inputs)