BJP raises Pillai, Chidambaram remarks, Congress clarifies

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) The BJP on Friday asked the Congress to clarify former home secretary G. K. Pillai’s remarks on the alleged staged shootout in which Mumbai student Ishrat Jehan was killed and former home minister P. Chidambaram’s remarks on Afzal Guru.

In response, the Congress cited two judicial authorities in the first case and said Chidamabaram had said the government pursued Guru’s case to the ultimate end.

“Former home secretary has distanced himself from Ishrat’s affidavit and former home minister has raised questions over the hanging of Afzal Guru. In Ishrat Jehan case, the affidavit submitted to the Gujarat High Court in 2009 about her links with LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and her accomplices was changed at the political level. A deliberate attempt was made to malign the then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi,” BJP member Anurag Thakur said in Lok Sabha.

“A conspiracy was hatched by the then ruling party to frame opposition leaders. Country wants to know who changed the affidavit at the political level,” he asked.

The Congress members opposed the allegations and sought permission from the chair to speak over the issue but were denied by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. They also objected to the chair for selectively allowing some members to speak, but Thakur said he had given notice in this regard.

Giving the party stand, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “Very categorically, Chidambaramji has said that as home minister in then government of the day, of the Congress party, pursued the case of Afzal Guru as a perpetrator of a most heinous crime and saw to it that ends of justice are fructified up to the Supreme Court.

“We demanded, we pursued, we advocated for harshest punishment which was given to Afzal Guru and subsequently even to Ajmal Kasab and this was in nutshell the import of words Chidambaram had said,” he added.

Reports on Friday quoted Pillai as saying that the affidavit in Ishrat Jehan case was changed at political level while Chidambaram was quoted in an interview as saying that the Afzal Guru case was perhaps not correctly decided and there were grave doubts about the extent of his involvement in the parliament attack.

After Pillai and Chidambaram’s remarks hits the headlines, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reshared his two Facebook posts on Ishrat Jehan case written simultaneously in 2013 and 2104.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu had also asked the Congress to clarify its stand on the two issues.

On the Ishrat Jahan issue, Sujewala said: “In case of Ishrat Jahan encounter case, the district judge of Ahmedabad who investigated the encounter, found it to be fake. The government of Gujarat went in appeal against that order judgment.

“In a court-monitored CBI investigation, same findings were upheld. Once those findings are upheld not by one but two judicial authorities, then we would only refer to those and not enter into any speculation based on individual wisdom of a particular person.”

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