No reason to doubt Intelligence Bureau’s inputs on Ishrat: Ex-bureaucrat

New Delhi, Mar. 2 (ANI): Wondering what was the need for a second affidavit in the high-profile Ishrat Jahan encounter case when, apparently, there was no doubt expressed on the veracity of the information provided to the Centre, a former bureaucrat who was attached with the union home ministry claimed on Wednesday that there was no reason to doubt the inputs given by a body like the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Gujarat government.

“I cannot comment as to what was the compelling reason and why this happened really, but to the best of my knowledge, when I was there, and soon thereafter, a lot of allegations were made. However, there did not seem to be any doubt about the credibility of the inputs received from various sources,” said former joint secretary with the Union Home Ministry Arun Kumar Jain on Wednesday.

In an exclusive to ANI, Jain said “At that time, in 2004, I was the joint secretary in-charge of the communal situation with the Home Ministry, and this event (encounter) took place in that period. When the event took place, there were a number of allegations that certain innocent people had been killed on the outskirts of Ahmedabad by the police.

“We obtained reports from both the state government as well as the IB, and the reports were quite right from day one. In fact, the reports were quite clear that these outfits had some association with terrorist groups and they were out on a mission to kill some VIPs and that an encounter took place and they were killed and that was placed on record. I could not see any conflict between the reports of the state government and the IB. There was apparently no doubt expressed on the veracity of the information which was provided to us.”

When asked whether he was convinced by reports that Ishrat was a terrorist, Jain said, “That is what the reports clearly said, and normally we do not doubt, unless there is a doubt expressed in the report itself or there is some kind of a conflict of opinions or views or facts. There is no reason to doubt the inputs given by a body like the Intelligence Bureau. The state government was also sending us the information.”

On a question if there was mistrust between the state government and the Centre, he said there was a considerable amount of mistrust between them.

“For example, the Commission of Inquiry was proposed to be appointed by the Central Government at that time. There were many references into the post-Godhra riots even though the state government’s commission had already been functioning for a number of years. I examined the matter and I felt that under the law this was not permitted, but clearly there were too much of references and too much of questions were being asked that why should the Central Government not appoint another Commission of Inquiry,” he said.

When asked to elaborate upon those references, he said, “Many groups, including the national Advisory Council (NAC), and if would recall any reference from the NAC is always given top priority. What happened that repeated references were coming, and also there were suggestions and proposals to tweak the terms of reference in such a way that an inquiry commission could be appointed somehow by interpreting the law in that manner. But, then I felt since the pith and substance of the proposal was the same, under law it could not be done. That is what I, in fact, reiterated.”

When asked to respond to former home minister P. Chidambaram’s comment that he stood by the second affidavit, and also to respond to former home secretary G.K. Pillai’s view that there was conclusive evidence to consider Ishrat Jahan a terrorist, Jain said, “I would only say that our reports were quite clear, no doubts were expressed at that point of time, now whether there was an evidence, which is admissible in the court of law, that is a different question altogether. But, for the purpose of establishing the circumstances and facts of a particular scenario and incident that was what we normally rely upon, and that is placed on record, and that till the time I was questioned was not there.” (ANI)

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