New Delhi: Hitting back, Congress on Sunday brought Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah in the line of fire on the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter issue alleging that the "tsunami of misinformation" was being spread to "save their skin" in the case.
"Simple truth is that this web of deceit and deception is being woven by government and certain sections of media to save the skin of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and BJP President, Shri Amit Shah", senior party leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge and Anand Sharma told reporters.
Addressing a joint press conference along with them, party leaders Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Singhvi and Shaktisinh Gohil released copy of a four-page statement of a Gujarat police officer D H Goswami before a Magistrate which speaks about "kali dadhi" (black beard) and "safed dadhi" (white beard).
Sibal claimed Goswami had quoted the then senior Gujarat IPS officer D G Vanzara as saying ahead of the encounter that he had already got the "green signal from Black Beard and White Beard". While Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat that time, Shah was the Minister of state for Home.
They claimed that the "harsh reality" in the backdrop of Goswami's statement is that the "fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three other accomplices was ordered by the then Chief Minister and present Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the then MoS, Gujarat Amit Shah"
"In case, Ishrat Jahan trial was to proceed, it is inevitable that PM and BJP President would be summoned as an accused", they said in a joint statement.
"Black hearted conspiracy behind lies, half truth and smoke screen being put up by BJP government to divert attention of Nation in ‘Ishrat Jahan case’ stands unearthed", they alleged on the eve of the Parliament session.
Sibal said that this is why the last 3 months has seen a "tsunami of misinformation" and people were asking if Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist or not. He was apparently referring to the BJP's concerted attacks on former Home Minister P Chidambaram.
The Congress leaders also warned BJP against attacking Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the matter, saying it would even force an apology.
While Kharge said that the Congress would work together with like minded parties, Sharma said that the government would be seen in the "dock" on a host of issues.
They also dismissed BJP's assertion that the Uttarkhand issue should not be raised as it was sub-judice. Kharge indicated that the Congress could be bringing in an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha tomorrow on the Uttarakhand issue.
Insisting that three investigations, Magisterial, SIT and CBI, have called this a 'Fake Encounter', Sibal said "We demand that in the the next 6 months the trial is completed. The accused put in the dock and appropriate punishments given".
"We want to ask why is this case not proceeding?", Sibal said adding that the the charge sheet was filled in 2013, for an encounter in 2004. "We are in 2016 and the case hasn't moved forward at all".
In the joint statement, the Congress leaders said the "plain and simple intrigue is to ensure that the most important persons of BJP/government are not brought to trial".
Besides, they claimed that this is a "sinister attempt" to set at naught the judicial enquiry by Metropolitan Court, Ahmedabad; Gujarat High Court-monitored SIT and its judgment dated 12.08.2010 and Court-monitored CBI enquiry resulting
into filing of charge sheet as recorded in High Court judgment.
The Congress leaders claimed that "shocking and toxic conspiracy of influencing filing of affidavit by Government of India and allurement being given to counsel for Union of India is also borne out from a tape recorded conversation between P.P. Pandey (now acting DGP, Gujarat) and another police official G.L. Singhal."
"To achieve its nefarious design and with a view to derail the trial, present government is taking help of two IPS officers of Gujarat cadre A.K. Sharma and Rakesh Asthana and have posted them as Joint Directors of CBI", the party alleged.
Sharma dismissed as "preposterous" the BJP charge against the Gandhis in the case. He warned that the Congress would force an apology if such attacks continued.
The BJP attack is to "deflect and derail" the investigation, he said claiming that "their two top leaders should be in the dock".
Singhvi alleged that BJP's entire campaign of "misinformation" is based on the statement of terrorist David Headley who has become "paragon of virtue" as far as the ruling party is concerned.
Sibal said that a democracy is strengthened when the justice system is fair and the law treats everyone equally.
He said that what was worrying is that the officers who were "caught on tape trying to save the accused are now a part of the CBI."
Besides, he said what is happening is that all the accused are out on bail while Pandey, who is one of the accused and out on bail, is now acting DG of Police:
He said that it is the duty of the Judiciary to decide if Ishrat was a terrorist or not.