Zee Media Bureau
Ahmedabad: The preliminary chargesheet filed by the CBI in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case, which blamed the Gujarat police and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for the cold blooded killing of the 19-year-old Mumbra girl and three others, may play out politically in the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Though Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and state’s former home minister Amit Shah have not been named, the chargesheet has already triggered a fresh round of war of words between BJP and the Congress.
The Congress has launched a scathing attack on Modi, saying "truth speaks for itself from the rooftop" and claimed that the Gujarat Chief Minister`s role in such encounters will also be exposed in the days to come.
AICC General Secretary Madhusudan Mistri said, “Everyone in Gujarat knows that this encounter was fake. During a period of three months, when there was talks about removing Modi as Chief Ministers, such encounters took place with frequent intervals propping up a theory that there was an attempt to murder Modi".
Other Congress leaders have also attacked Modi. They claimed that the Gujarat government had carried out fake encounters to raise Modi`s profile so that he becomes a "hero" in the eyes of people who believe acts of terror are done by Muslims.
Given the near certainty that BJP will anoint Modi as its prime ministerial candidate in 2014, the Congress may use the Ishrat case to attack his secular credentials. Also, the party hopes that the fake encounter case will throw a spanner in Modi’s attempt to build bridges with the Muslim community.
On the other hand, the BJP is working to insulate Modi from Congress’ attack. It has hit back at the Congress by accusing it of indulging in vote-bank politics in encounter cases and targeting ‘rising saffron leaders.’’
The BJP feels the CBI chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan case "underplays" the role of militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba and terrorists and "indicts" security agencies, "demoralising" them in the process.
The opposition party also questioned CBI`s silence on the role of those accompanying Ishrat Jahan as they were believed to be involved in terrorist activities.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, “It`s surprising the CBI has not revealed anything about the background of the people who were killed in the encounter by the police on June 15, 2004.”
The BJP leader also alleged that the government might be pressurising the CBI to proceed in the case and establish ground to implicate Modi and his close aides.
The BJP also blamed the Congress government for misusing the central probe agency for political gains.