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UPA plays politics with its affidavit: Home backs it, Law pulls up author

UPA plays politics with its affidavit: Home backs it, Law pulls up author

Author: Amitabh Sinha, Maneesh Chhibber
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: September 10, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/upa-plays-politics-with-its-affidavit-home-backs-it-law-pulls-up-author/515277/

A day after the Gujarat government waved a Central affidavit backing its claim that Ishrat Jahan and her associates were linked to the Lashkar-e-Toiba and were planning a terror strike, the Union Home Ministry stood by the contents of its affidavit but the Law Ministry sent out a completely conflicting signal by initiating action against the law officer who had filed that affidavit.

The Law Ministry today decided to take action against Assistant Solicitor General P S Champaneri for failing to bring to the notice of the ministry the contents of the affidavit filed by the Home Ministry in the Gujarat High Court, sources said.

In the affidavit filed last month, the Home Ministry told the High Court that it had indeed passed on information to the state police on the suspected terror links of Ishrat Jahan and her three companions who were gunned down in June 2004.

Home Secretary G K Pillai said the affidavit was based on facts in possession of the Intelligence Bureau and the government was ready to substantiate the information provided to the court in the affidavit, if asked. He made the distinction between information on terror links of the victims provided to the state government and how the Gujarat police acted on that information.

"The affidavit only states the facts that were discovered about the victims through investigations. The facts are clear that the victims had suspicious links with terrorist organisations. Based on the information that the Intelligence Bureau had about these people, the Gujarat Police had been alerted about their movements," Pillai said.

"What the Gujarat Police did after receiving that information from the Home Ministry is not something that the Home Ministry can be held accountable for. As far as the government and the laws of justice in the country are concerned, even a terrorist has the right to get arrested and be put on trial," he said.

With the Modi government pointing to the Central affidavit, the Law Ministry decided to penalise Champaneri for failing to apprise it of the contents of the affidavit and getting it vetted. Until evening, no formal orders against the ASG had been issued. Champaneri, on his part, said he had only filed the affidavit which was prepared and handed over to him by a Home Ministry official.

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