The ghost of ‘Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case’ is back. In a latest development, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman on April 18 alleged, “Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi conspired with the then Home Minister P Chidambaram, who was used as a tool to help Congress fight then Gujarat Chief Minister Modi.”
“You underplayed a terror plot that could have eliminated (PM Modi). You are clearly admitting that you cannot fight this politically. So eliminate or encourage elimination of the leader who you are mortified of fighting it politically. We do everything possible to make sure that we make it appear that he is against some section, projected as if there is no terror threat against him,” she had said.
In another expose in the controversial fake encounter case new facts have emerged and it has again pointed fingers at suspicious and conspiring role of P Chidambaram, who was Home Minister in the UPA-2 regime. The BJP has lost no time in cashing on the new emerged facts, which has come out though an RTI application to corner not only Chidambaram but the top leadership of Congress party. Finding itself in an embarrassing position, the Congress has tried to rebut the charges by putting its whole emphasis on veracity of police encounter.
In a frontal attack, BJP has accused Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi for conspiring with the then Home Minister P Chidambaram at the Centre to showcase “Ishrat Jahan, an alleged LeT terrorist, as an innocent girl of Mumbra, Mumbai”.
Making the line of attack bolder after Sitharaman, the BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on April 20 again asked Chidambaram to name the “culprit” who had asked him to change the affidavit. Following the party line he asked tough and odd question to Chidambaram, “Let the nation know, who is she to write the conspiracy? Because we all know that in the Congress party, diktats come from a singular address. You know the address. The remote control lies with her.”
Patra initially did not name Sonia Gandhi directly but later when he addressed Hindi media he did not show any hesitation to name her behind all the controversy. This time the BJP has targeted first family of the Congress party for all the controversy of change in affidavits in Ishrat case.
In response, the Congress party has come out with strong rebuttal of charges levelled against its top leadership. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala while refuting the charges on party president and vice-president said, “Prime Minister Narender Modi is using his cronies to unleash a malicious and false agenda vis-a-vis the role of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Congress VP Rahul Gandhi by falsely attempting to connect them to the Ishrat case, unlike the RSS which runs the current Modi government by remote control intervenes and interferes in every policy and administrative decision including appointments to various posts.” He said Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi never gave any suggestion on any administrative issue much less the Ishrat Jahan case.
In a series of exposé in Ishrat Jahan case many startling facts have come out. The explosive revelations made by former Home Secretary GK Pillai, former Under Secretary (Home) RVS Mani and former IB Special Director Rajendra Kumar tell how an elected government of the UPA used every possible illegal, unethical and immoral means to tarnish the image of Narendra Modi. Facts also indicate that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) became the hub of conspiracy led by P Chidambaram under the guidance of the then UPA chairperson. In the process, State machinery working under the UPA regime not only demoralised but also physically harassed honest intelligence and administrative officers, sent some behind the bars on false and malicious charges, spread canards in public, fed false stories to media and coerced officials to change their original stand.
It is the Ishrat Jahan’s encounter case in which Modi and Shah were attacked by the Opposition parties, activists, and Opposition backed NGOs, NRIs and many within the BJP itself for a decade. People, especially the Muslims in the country, were made to believe that ‘Ishrat Jahan—an innocent girl who was killed by Modi’s State Police in connivance with the Intelligence Bureau personnel by staging a fake encounter.
The Congress-led Central government had then used the CBI to brand Modi as the master of the ‘fake encounter’. The case was handed over to CBI after an investigation by an SIT, appointed by Gujarat High Court said it was a fake encounter. The CBI filed chargesheets against seven police officers including three from the Gujarat cadre IPS, and four IB officials in the Ishrat encounter case.
The CBI and the IB have been at loggerheads since the former agency sought sanction from the MHA to prosecute the IB officials. The IB placed before the Supreme Court papers in sealed covers reportedly proving Ishrat’s involvement, procured from FBI’s investigation of David Coleman Headley alias Dawood Geelani – key player in the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
Those who are in know of things, said, “Everything was stage managed. CBI ensured a fool-proof water-tight case to nail Narendra Modi — as the architect of the fake encounter.” The CBI had filed two chargesheets. The first chargesheet filed in July 2013 was against seven police officers, including IPS officers PP Pandey, DG Vanzara and GL Singhal. In the chargesheet, the CBI had said that the encounter was fake and a joint operation between Gujarat Police and IB.
In the second chargesheet filed in February 2014, the CBI had charged Special Director of IB, Rajendra Kumar, with murder, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping in order to murder, wrongful confinement and under the Arms Act. Three other IB officers who were part of Kumar's team—P Mittal, MK Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede were also charged in the case.
The second affidavit is the one in which the references to the alleged links of Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Pillai alias Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were removed. RVS Mani had alleged that Chidambaram was behind the decision to file the second affidavit. He also alleged that the then SIT chief, a CBI official, was after him and an attempt was made to question the quality of professional inputs by the intelligence agencies on Ishrat and other terrorists. It’s a maze of multi-layered conspiracies. Every attempt was made to erase the evidences that proved non-involvement of Modi in the case. The persons who could have been the witnesses to prove the encounter justified, were killed in encounters