Ishrat Jahan row: Home ministry asks panel to finish work by 31 May
A one-man inquiry committee of the Home Ministry, probing the missing files case related to the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, has been asked to expedite its work
New Delhi: A one-man inquiry committee of the Home Ministry, probing the missing files case related to the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, has been asked to expedite its work and finish the task by 31 May.
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi is said to have told Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry BK Prasad to speed up the probe and submit his report by the end of this month.
Prasad, a Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, is retiring on 31 May and the government wants the task given to him to be completed before his service comes to an end, official sources said.
Prasad is also embroiled in a controversy after an under secretary serving in the Home Ministry's Foreigners Division accused him of pressuring him (the junior officer) of giving clean chit to Ford Foundation, which allegedly violated provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. Prasad has denied the allegation.
Top Home Ministry officials are of the opinion that the Ishrat-related files were misplaced and could be found if a concerted effort is made.
Government seems to be unhappy over the delay in finding the files and wants a quick report and Prasad has been told this in clear terms, the sources said.
The panel, constituted on 14 March following an uproar in Parliament, was asked to inquire into the circumstances in which the files related to the case of Ishrat, who was killed in the alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004, went missing.
It was asked to find out the person responsible for keeping the files and relevant issues.
The papers which went missing from the Home Ministry include the copy of an affidavit vetted by the Attorney General and submitted in the Gujarat High Court in 2009 and the draft of the second affidavit vetted by the AG on which changes were made.
Two letters written by the then Home Secretary GK Pillai to the then Attorney General late GE Vahanvati and the copy of the draft affidavit have so far been untraceable.
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 the Intelligence Bureau where it was said the 19-year-old girl from Mumbai outskirts was a Lashkar-e-Taiba activist but it was ignored in the second affidavit, Home Ministry officials said.
The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist, the officials said.
A war of words broke out on Tuesday night over the alleged flip-flop on the affidavits in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
Ishrat Jahan case: Was forced to file second affidavit, burnt with cigarettes, says former under secretary
Former Under Secretary in the Home Ministry told <em>Times Now</em> that he had been coerced to file the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case.
Did BK Prasad have a motive to leak the information to Indian Express, which was doing a probe into the missing documents in the Ishrat Jahan case?