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Ishrat: Centre's affidavit cleared over 4 years ago

Ishrat: Centre's affidavit cleared over 4 years ago

Author: Express News Service
Publication: The Times of India
Date: September 13, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/ishrat-centres-affidavit-cleared-over-4-ye/516608/

Introduction: But it was not placed in court by UPA's standing counsel. who gave the order to him or why he did it is not know

The case relating to the Centre's affidavit before the Gujarat High Court in Ishrat Jahan encounter has become more intriguing with evidence emerging that it was cleared for submission by the Home Ministry more than four years ago but inexplicably not placed in the court by the UPA's standing counsel.

Government sources confirmed to this newspaper that the affidavit was cleared by the then Special Secretary (internal security) Anil Choudhary on January 28, 2005, seven months after the encounter in which two Pakistani nationals were also killed. The affidavit, which was in the knowledge of the then Home Secretary Dhirendra Singh, was inexplicably not submitted by Standing Counsel and Assistant Solicitor General Pankaj Champaneri in the court hearing the petition filed by Shamima Kausar, mother of Ishrat Jahan.

Who instructed Champaneri not to file the affidavit or why did the law officer not file it is not known. When contacted, Champaneri refused to comment.

It is learnt that after the Intelligence Bureau in July 2009 informed the Home Ministry that the affidavit had not been submitted despite the matter coming up before the court on July 31, 2009, MHA officials enquired from Champaneri on the phone about the delay. Then the Standing Counsel confirmed that he had not submitted the affidavit that the MHA officials had rushed after changing only the relevant dates and informing the top officials. All this is a matter of record and available on the MHA files.

While the government affidavit does not take a position on the June 15, 2004 encounter, it, however, states that neither there was any proposal being considered for a CBI inquiry into the case nor does it "consider the present case fit for investigation by the CBI". It merely states that the police action was independently inquired into by the State Additional Director General (Intelligence and CID), which is neither working under the Crime Branch nor is the officer subordinate to the Crime Branch.

Although the affidavit has now become politically inconvenient to the Congress, the document exhaustively lists the evidence against Ishrat Jahan, her associate Javed aka Pranesh Pillai and two known Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists - Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali of Pakistan. It points out that Javed obtained a passport (S-514800) in the name of Mohd Javed Ghulam Shaikh from Mumbai passport office on June 28, 1994. It was on this passport that Javed travelled to Dubai, where he was co-opted by the LeT recruiters. Javed then obtained another passport (E-6624203) in the name of Pranesh Kumar Manaladythekhu Gopinatha Pillai from Cochin passport office on September 16, 2003. The new passport was procured from Kerala despite Javed having never lived in the state and his earlier passport valid till June 2004.

The affidavit says that Javed's father Gopinatha Pillai has suppressed all these facts in his petition before the Supreme Court. Father Pillai also concealed that Javed had travelled to Oman just two months before the encounter and that he had lived in Mumbra for many years.

The affidavit points to contradictions with regard to the activities, occupation and movement of Javed and Ishrat contained in the petitions of Shamima Kausar and Gopinatha Pillai. For instance, Pilai's petition has no mention about Ishrat's relationship and employment with Javed. While father Pillai states that Javed was running a tourist taxi service using the blue Indica car, mother Kausar says that Ishrat was employed by Javed as a salesgirl in his perfume business that required her to travel with him but did not know the address of the commercial establishment. The two cannot further explain the relationship of Javed and Ishrat with the Pakistani nationals.

The affidavit quotes the disclosure of Shahid Mehmud, LeT's chief operational commander in central Kashmir, and his Pakistani associate Zahid Ahmed (arrested in June 2004) to say that Amjad Ali had entered India under instructions from LeT's boss Muzammil to organise terror networks. Ali was in touch with Javed and was also treated for a bullet injury in Delhi in May 2004. The affidavit banks on Javed's association with Ishrat on the one hand and with LeT, on the other, to prove that the four were part of the LeT network while refraining from any comment on the police action.

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