New Delhi: The BJP again raked up the 2004 Ishrat Jehan case on Monday accusing the Congress party of having underplayed "a terror plot" against the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi because it was "mortified" of fighting him politically.
The BJP attack came after a media report said the then Home Minister P Chidambaram had signed the first affidavit in the encounter case, which he had reportedly denied earlier.
"You underplayed a terror plot that could eliminate (Modi). You are clearly admitting that you cannot fight this politically. So eliminate or allow to eliminate or encourage elimination of the leader who you are mortified of fighting politically.
"...we (Congress) do everything possible in our hand to make sure that we make it appear that he is against some section, projected as if there is no terror threat against him," Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told a press conference at the BJP headquarters.
The Congress and Chidambaram reacted to the development saying the BJP was ignoring and diluting the "real" issue of "fake" encounter in which Ishrat Jehan was killed.
Chidambaram said he cannot comment on the issue of the first affidavit without perusing the files and notings.
But, he said, the BJP was ignoring the "real" issue of the "fake" encounter in which Ishrat Jehan was killed.
Chidambaram said the second affidavit was filed in the case after thorough consultation with the then Home Secretary and Attorney General.
"My public statements on why the second affidavit was filed after due and full consultation with the Home Secretary and the Attorney General are self-explanatory. I have nothing to add," he said in a statement.
And moreover, Chidambaram said, the real issue is, even if a person is suspected to be a terrorist, can that person be killed — as alleged — in a fake encounter?
"Please focus on the real issue. That issue is sub judice before a court of law," he advised the BJP.
Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told reporters, "The issue was whether it was a fake or genuine encounter. The court has held that it was a fake encounter... Now reports are being planted to dilute the main issue,"
At the BJP press conference, Sitaraman said The debate cannot be confined to Chidambaram.
"Sonia Gandhi worked actively on this theory. That is why she went to town saying an encounter has happened as though there was no intelligence information stating that there was terror plot," she said.
Sitharaman added, "They wanted to quietly watch the terror plot bloom to eliminate a political opponent....a very serious fallout is the way this country's intelligence and counter intelligence have been weakened."
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju also hit out at Congress and Chidambaram, saying he could not have acted on his own to do such an "anti-national act".
"There have been some political pressure from higher ups of the Congress that such an action was taken," he told the media.
Chidambaram, he alleged, has been caught red-handed and now he cannot escape. It is not Chidambaram but the entire Congress leadership which should take the responsibility, he said.