Ishrat Jahan case: Home ministry files FIR to probe into missing documents

New Delhi: The Home Ministry has lodged an FIR in connection with the missing documents related to the controversial Ishrat Jahan 'fake encounter' case, a move that might escalate political slugfest between BJP and Congress.

An under secretary serving in the home ministry has filed the FIR at the Parliament Street Police station in New Delhi under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of the Indian Penal Code asking police to probe "why, how and under what circumstances" five documents related to the case went missing.

The move came after an inquiry panel, headed by an Additional Secretary, concluded that the papers were "removed knowingly or unknowingly or misplaced" in September 2009, a period when Congress leader P Chidambaram was the Home Minister.

Ishrat Jahan. Image courtesy: CNN-News18

Ishrat Jahan. Image courtesy: CNN-News18

Only one paper out of the five documents related to the controversial alleged Ishrat fake encounter case that went missing from the Home Ministry was found, said the inquiry panel, which submitted its report on 15 June after a three-month-long investigation.

The inquiry panel, however, made no reference to Chidambaram or anyone in the then UPA government.

The FIR was lodged under "stolen" category of police station register on 22 September following a communication sent to the Delhi Police Commissioner on 26 August.

Based on the statements of 11 serving and retired officers, including the then Home Secretary GK Pillai, the 52-page inquiry panel report had said the documents went missing between 18-28 September, 2009.

The second affidavit, which was different from the first one, and filed before Gujarat High Court on 29 September, 2009, had said there was no conclusive evidence to suggest that Ishrat was an LeT operative.

The papers which went missing and listed in the FIR are office copy of the letter and enclosure sent by the then Home Secretary to the then Attorney General on 18 September, 2009, office copy of another letter sent by the then Home Secretary to the then AG on 18 September, 2009, draft further affidavit as vetted by the then AG, draft further affidavit "as amended" by the then Home Minister on 24 September, 2009 and office copy of the further affidavit filed with the Gujarat High Court on 29 September, 2009.

The paper which was retrieved from a computer hard disk was the letter sent by the then Home Secretary to the then AG on 18 September, 2009.

The lodging of the FIR is expected to escalate political slugfest between BJP and Congress as the former had accused the latter of lowering the fight against terror by filing the second affidavit during UPA regime.

Congress had hit back in the past by saying the BJP-led government was politicising the issue after assuming power in 2014.

Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in the encounter with Gujarat Police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on 15 June, 2004.

Gujarat Police had then said those killed were LeT terrorists and had landed in Gujarat to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Sources said in his statement to the Ishrat inquiry panel, retired IAS officer Deverakonda Diptivilasa had reportedly said the documents were part of the file which he sent to the seniors during the deliberations before the second affidavit related to the alleged fake encounter case was filed.

The inquiry panel, however, made no reference to Chidambaram or anyone in the then UPA government.

However, the five documents were not found in the file when it returned, Diptivilasa, who was the then Joint Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry, was learnt to have told the panel.

Sources said Home Ministry officials have detected about the five missing documents in 2013, when the UPA was in power but it was never flagged as the fair copies were intact then.

The one-member panel was constituted after Home Minister Rajnath Singh had disclosed in Parliament on March 10 that the files were missing.

The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides Intelligence Bureau where it was said the 19-year-old girl from Mumbai outskirts was an activist of Lashkar-e-Taiba but it was ignored in the second affidavit, Home Ministry officials said.

The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist, the officials said.

Pillai had claimed that as Home Minister, Chidambaram had recalled the file a month after the original affidavit, which described Ishrat and her slain aides as LeT operatives, was filed in the court.

Subsequently, Chidambaram had said Pillai is equally responsible for the change in the affidavit.

Updated Date: Sep 25, 2016 14:34 PM

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