BJP seeks probe into UPA ‘flip-flop’ in Ishrat Jahan case

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New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday alleged flip-flop by the then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre in the Ishrat Jahan shootout case and demanded a thorough probe into it.

The probe should look into the manner in which the Centre’s affidavit in the case was changed and under whose “pressure” it was done, BJP leader and union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at a press conference at the party headquarters here.

He alleged that the home ministry affidavit was changed at the “political level”.

“On behalf of the Bharatiya Janata Party, we demand that (in) the entire flip-flop in the Ishrat Jahan case, a fair inquiry be done,” said Prasad.

Citing former home secretary G.K. Pillai’s recent TV interview, Prasad said the second affidavit came at the level of former home minister P. Chidambaram.

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He said a former home ministry official (Pillai), who signed the affidavits, told a news channel that he was “tortured” during the probe to ascertain if Ishrat Jahan was killed in a fake gunfight.

Prasad alleged that there was a conspiracy to name Narendra Modi, who was then the Gujarat chief minister, in the case.

He said that Pakistani-American terrorist turned approver David Coleman Headley said in his deposition in a Mumbai court that Ishrat Jahan was an Lashkar-e-Taiba activist.

Prasad alleged that there was an attempt to raise questions on the information flow of intelligence agencies concerning terror networks.

“Can a home minister behave in such irresponsible manner? We allege that Chidambaram was not doing it himself. He had directions from the top Congress leadership,” Prasad alleged.

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Pillai in his recent TV interview alleged that Chidambaram bypassed him and rewrote the affidavit submitted to the Gujarat High Court on the alleged gunfight in which Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year-old student of Mumbra college, and three others were shot dead on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, in 2004.

In August 2009, the home ministry under Chidambaram submitted an affidavit to the Gujarat High Court that referred to Ishrat Jahan’s alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba links.

The position taken by the home ministry in the subsequent affidavit was in sharp departure from the position it took in its earlier affidavit.

Countering allegations of Prasad, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said it was for the courts to decide if Ishrat Jahan was guilty.

“But that courts would have done if she was alive,” he said.

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He said India’s democracy was strong and resilient enough to try and punish its worst enemies.

The Congress leader said that a district judge of Ahmedabad who investigated the gunfight had found it to be fake.

He said the Gujarat government went in appeal against that order and in the court-monitored investigation, same findings were upheld.

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