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Satish Verma, cop who’s gunning for Kiren Rijiju, had earlier doubted Ishrat Jahan’s terror link

The man who dragged Union Minister for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju into the alleged Rs 450 crore scam at the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited’s 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, Gujarat cadre IPS officer Satish Verma, is no stranger to controversies.

Verma, as chief vigilance officer of the Neepco, had prepared a 129-page report of the ongoing irregularities in the power project. The officer now serves as an inspector-general in the Central Reserved Police Force in Tripura.

CRPF IGP Satish Verma. Image courtesy CRPF websiteCRPF IGP Satish Verma. Image courtesy CRPF website

CRPF IGP Satish Verma. Image courtesy CRPF website

According to a report in The Economic Times, Verma as one of the three members of the Gujarat High Court-appointed SIT to probe the Ishrat Jahan encounter differed with his fellow panelists and doubted if the 19-year-old girl shot down by cops in an alleged gunfight was at all a Lashkar-e-Taiba cadre.

The 1986-batch officer doesn’t share an enviable relationship with the Gujarat government and was even charged in January 2015 for prolonged absence from duty as the principal of Police Training College in Junagadh, a report in the DNA said.

Although the officer was granted Central deputation on request, he was apparently unhappy with his posting as the CVO at Neepco headquarters in Shillong. According to the DNA, the Central Administrative Tribunal, which he had approached seeking reprieve, refused to entertain his plea for a better posting.

His tenure in Neepco was cut short and it was not without controversy. Soon after he submitted his report involving Rijiju and his cousin Goboi, the officer was soon transferred out as IGP, Tripura sector of the CRPF as a lateral shift on deputation in July this year.

“Verma, a Gujarat IPS officer, was pulled up by NEEPCO for “unauthorised absence,” and transferred to the CRPF in Tripura soon after his report. He attributes the “absence” to his investigation.”—a report in The Indian Express said.

Appointed as Neepco CVO in August 2014, Verma soon had run-in with the company and the power ministry itself which finally got him out of the public sector enterprise by formally lodging a complaint against him with the Ministry of Home Affairs for alleged ‘high-handedness’. The official line is of course long absence from duty.

Before being shunted out of Neepco, the former CVO was given three show cause notices for unauthorised absence.

It is unlikely that the Tripura-based CRPF officer would have much popularity among colleagues from the IPS fraternity as well. His stand in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case resulted in seven IPS officers going behind bars which include high profile names like PP Pandey, DG Vanzara and GL Singhal among others.

Verma was on deputation with the Central Bureau of Investigation when he was made a member of the Special Investigation Team following court orders.

The IPS officer grabbed headlines in March this year as well when in a startling revelation, RVS Mani, former under secretary in the home ministry had told Times Now that he was coerced to file the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case. Mani directly accused Verma of torturing him.

“What Satish Verma did to me was unprecedented…On 21 June 2013, Satish Verma burnt me with cigarettes,” he told Times Now. “He was not collecting evidence, but engineering evidence,” he further said. “I was chased by so many officers and people,” he said.

Verma, however, rejected the charges.

“Further, Mr. Mani has spoken about physical torture by cigarette…; I must say the CBI never tortures anybody in such a way in any of their investigations. Suppose, I had done what Mr. Mani was claiming – it would be a big misconduct and perhaps it would be a crime under law. He was an officer of the Government of India, he must be aware of the fact that he could take legal action against me (for misconduct). Also, the highest investigating agency like the CBI, which doesn’t tolerate such misconducts, would also have taken some action. Hence, the charges are baseless,” the IPS officer was quoted as saying by ABP News.

The IPS officer was also entangled with the Gujarat state over a government accommodation allotted to him but later withdrew the plea.

A report in The Indian Express said that Verma approached the Gujarat High Court to get a state government order quashed asking him to vacate a flat on Ahmedabad’s CG Road allotted to him in 2013 when he was with the state police.

However, on legal advice, the officer decided to approach the CAT after withdrawing the case from the high court.
A NDTV report said that the Verma’s family occupies a flat at the Samarpan Government Colony in Ahmedabad. The state government wants the officer to vacate the Ahmedabad accommodation as he is on deputation with the CRPF now.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 17:34 IST

Human rights only for terrorists, jawans’ lives don’t matter, asks Union Minister Harsh Vardhan

Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science and Technology, tweeted. “For Afzal, Yakub, Ishrat, Burhan, Batla (House encounter) they’ll cry foul and chatter. Human Rights are for terrorists only, lives of soldiers don’t matter,” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid controversy over “encounter” killing of eight alleged SIMI terrorists by Madhya Pradesh Police, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday took a dig at opposition parties and a section of intelligentsia saying “human rights are only for terrorists” while the lives of soldiers don’t matter.”For Afzal, Yakub, Ishrat, Burhan, Batla (House encounter) they’ll cry foul and chatter. Human Rights are for terrorists only, lives of soldiers don’t matter,” Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science and Technology, tweeted.He was apparently referring to a certain section of media and intelligentsia.Following the “encounter” killing of alleged SIMI terrorists yesterday, several political parties demanded a probe into the matter.Vardhan also posted a collage comprising media reports on the executions of Parliament attacks convict Afzal Guru, 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memom, and killings of Ishrat Jahan and Burhan Wani.

Ishrat Jahan missing files case: Home Ministry lodges FIR, begins probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>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 here 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.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 June 15 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 September 22 following a communication sent to the Delhi Police Commissioner on August 26.Based on the statements of 11 serving and retired officers, including the then Home Secretary G K Pillai, the 52 -page inquiry panel report had said the documents went missing between September 18-28, 2009.The second affidavit, which was different from the first one, and filed before Gujarat High Court on September 29, 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 September 18, 2009, office copy of another letter sent by the then Home Secretary to the then AG on September 18, 2009, draft further affidavit as vetted by the then AG, draft further affidavit “as amended” by the then Home Minister on September 24, 2009 and office copy of the further affidavit filed with the Gujarat High Court on September 29, 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 September 18, 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.

GK Pillai knew of changes in Ishrat affidavit: inquiry panel

The one-man enquiry committee, which probed the issue of missing files in the controversial Ishrat Jahan encounter case, has claimed that former Home Secretary G K Pillai was in know of the changes made in the second affidavit relating to the case which was to be filed before Gujarat High Court.The panel noted that a draft copy of a letter addressed to then Attorney General late Goolam E Vahanvati by the then Home Secretary G K Pillai on September 18, 2009 has been recovered from the computer of the office of the Home Secretary which refers to some discussions in the chamber of the Law Minister in r egard to the supplementary affidavit. The panel’s claim assumes significance as it was Pillai, few months ago, who alleged that Chidambaram as Home Minister “bypassed him” and had rewritten the affidavit.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”However, the fact that there was some discussion in the chamber of Hon’ble Law Minister regarding filing of supplementary affidavit has not been recorded anywhere on the file either by the Joint Secretary or by the then Home Secretary,” said the panel which has failed to pin-point the people who were responsible for it and rather chose to conclude that it may have been “knowingly” removed or “unintentionally” misplaced. The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides Intelligence Bureau where it was said that Ishrat, a 19-year-old girl from Mumbai who was killed in the outskirts of Ahmedabad in 2004, was an activist of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba but it was ignored in the second affidavit.The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist. The panel indicated that the documents might have gone missing during its movement between the then Home Secretary G K Pillai and the then Home Minister P Chidambaram and also raised questions over the conduct of a former Joint Secretary D Diptivilas who had received an incomplete file.After his over three-month long probe during which he examined all the joint secretaries incharge of crucial Internal Security division, Additional Secretary B K Prasad said Diptivilas, who was joint secretary between January 2008 to March 2010, has stated that he had not seen the office copy of the letter sent to the then Attorney General by the then Home Secretary as well as the enclosure sent on September 18, 2009.”What he (Diptivilas) has seen was a sealed envelope, which was got delivered to the AG’s office. He said that this letter was not a part of the file. The draft further affidavit which was put up by the Home Secretary on September 23, 2009 as vetted by the AG was also not seen by him and he denied knowledge of seeing this draft amended by the then Home Minister.”The panel had concluded that “these papers appear to either have been knowingly removed from the file or may be unintentionally misplaced during the period 18.09.2009 and 24.09.2009 either by those who have dealt with this file during the period or by some other officer/staff under whose custody this file would have been during this period. “..how, why and under what circumstances these papers were missing or were removed from the file, is a matter of investigation and this being an internal enquiry is beyond its purview”

DG Vanzara stokes controversy, puts garland with toy gun on Sardar Patel’s statue in Surat

Former IPS officer D G Vanzara, accused in a string of fake encounter cases, on Sunday stirred a controversy when he put a garland with a toy pistol around the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at a rally organised by his supporters in Surat.The incident triggered sharp reactions from Congress as well as the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) whose members removed the garland after Vanzara had left the venue. Vanzara, a key accused in the alleged fake encounter killings of Ishrat Jahan, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati, was in Surat to attend the rally. Before the rally, he put a garland, having a pen and a toy pistol tied to it, around Sardar Patel’s statue.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked about the rationale behind offering such a garland, Vanzara told reporters that it was a “symbolic tribute” to Patel’s contribution to uniting hundreds of princely states after independence.”It was Sardar Patel who had convinced more than 665 princely states to join the Union of India after independence. Though a majority of states got convinced and acceded, some like Junagadh and Hyderabad raised their head in protest. In such a scenario, Sardar kept aside his pen and took up the gun,” he said.PTIVanzara said the pen in the garland is a “symbol of wit”, and the pistol of “power”.”Sardar Patel used both of them (pen and pistol) to build a united India. That is why we have garlanded Patel’s statue with pen and a (toy) gun to pay tribute to this great leader,” the retired IPS officer said. However, the incident drew criticism from various quarters.Condemning the act, former Congress MP and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Memorial Society chairman Dinsha Patel demanded an apology from Vanzara.”I strongly condemn such an act. I believe that whoever did this must apologise to the people of India,” said the veteran Congress leader.PAAS, fighting for the cause of reservation for Patels, also demanded an apology from Vanzara even as its workers removed the garland.”Vanzara has insulted a great leader. He has also hurt the feelings of Patel community. Sardar Patel always walked the path of peace and never advocated violence. We have removed that garland having the (toy) pistol and put a garland of flowers. We have also demanded an apology from Vanzara on the whole issue,” said Surat PAAS convener Nikhil Savani.On April 8, Vanzara landed in Ahmedabad after the CBI court relaxed his bail conditions and allowed him to enter and stay in Gujarat. Since then, Vanzara has been felicitated by his supporters at such rallies in different parts of the state. He had also not ruled out joining politics.

Probe in missing files not meant to implicate anyone: Rajnath on Ishrat Jahan case

Ahmedabad: The purpose of setting up an inquiry panel to find the missing files related to the encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan was not to implicate anyone but to recover the documents, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday amid the controversy over the officer conducting the probe having allegedly tutored a witness.

“The inquiry committee was set up not to implicate anyone but to find the missing files,” he told PTI in Ahmedabad, amidst allegations that the NDA government set up the panel to find faults in the previous UPA government.

Rajnath SinghRajnath Singh

A file photo of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

The Home Minister, however, refused to comment on the news report that the inquiry officer, Additional Secretary B K Prasad, tutored one of the key witnesses before taking his statement on the missing files.

Asked what will be the next course of action of the government as the panel has submitted its report, Singh said he was yet to go through its contents and will take a view only after talking to all people concerned.

In its report, the inquiry panel has said that only one missing document of the five related to the Ishrat Jahan case has been found.

The documents which continue to be missing were from the period when P Chidambaram was the Home Minister.

The inquiry panel, which submitted its report last weeek, has 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.

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

Based on the statements of 11 serving and retired officers, including the then Home Secretary G K Pillai, the report said the documents went missing between 18 and 28 September, 2009.

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

The Gujarat Police had claimed those killed were LeT terrorists and planned to assassinate the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

No tutoring of witnesses: Home secretary

Stating that the conversation was misinterpreted he said, “Jumping to the conclusions by hearing only one official and without having understood the response from the other side was uncalled for and would not give a complete picture.” Reacting to media reports on missing files in Ishrat Jahan case and witnesses being tutored, Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi on Thursday said that there was no such need to manage the witnesses.While responding to questions at a press conference after the meeting of the home ministers of coastal states, Mehrishi said, “I am not going to react to media reports on the case but whenever there is need, the home Ministry would officially express its stand. However, I deny that there was any tutoring of the witnesses in the case. There is no need to do so.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that the conversation was misinterpreted he said, “Jumping to the conclusions by hearing only one official and without having understood the response from the other side was uncalled for and would not give a complete picture.”

Congress demands Supreme Court intervention in Ishrat Jahan case

Buoyed by news reports that the officer investigating missing files in the Mumbai girl Ishrat Jahan’s encounter case was “tutoring” a witness, the main Opposition Congress on Thursday pleaded the suo moto intervention of the Supreme Court to monitor the case. The party said the Modi government was bent on derailing the ongoing trial in the case relating to Ishrat Jahan, who was killed along with her three friends in a fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home ministry’ additional secretary BK Prasad submitted his inquiry report on the missing files on Wednesday, which stated that documents related to Ishrat Jahan and three others had gone missing when P Chidambaram was the home minister. Chidambaram said he felt vindicated. He said the news report “comprehensively exposed the fake controversy” created by the BJP-led government. “The five ‘missing’ documents completely vindicate the position I had taken. The sequence of events conclusively establishes that we had acted in a totally transparent manner,” he said. “The moral of the story is that even a doctored report (of the inquiry officer) cannot hide the truth,” he added.Party spokesman Anand Sharma said a cosmetic inquiry was instituted by the home ministry on some missing documents from the ministry’s files by raking up the issue of two affidavits filed during the previous UPA government that have nothing to do with the trial. The whole exercise was to claim then home minister P Chidambaram had tried to protect the terrorists. “This is far more serious than match fixing,” he said. He said the latest expose shows that the probe was sheer farce and that the drama was enacted only to shield the culprits and derail the judicial probe.Sharma said the issue can’t be left to the government as the Prime Minister and the home minister have lost all credibility from the revelations and hence the request to the Supreme Court to take cognisance of developments in the Ishrat Jahan case to nail the “dirty trick department” of Prime Minister Modi fudging documents and making documents and files disappear and then holding inquiry to defame the previous government’s leaders and protect the accused.Sharma said he would not ask for an apology from the Prime Minister for faking the so-called inquiry.The Congress leader pointed out how the Gujarat Police officers who came out of jail after remaining interned for months for the fake encounters were greeted as heroes and given the high posts.The BJP alleges that the missing files expose a cover-up at a time the Congress-led government amended its own court documents and came out with a new one removing all references to Ishrat’s alleged connection with the Lashkar-e-Taiba, to suit the party’s stand that an innocent student had been shot dead on the orders of the Gujarat government.Chidambaram also said that Judge Tamang in his report on September 7, 2009 had found that Ishrat Jahan and three others had been killed in a fake encounter. The former union minister said he takes full responsibility for filing the ‘further affidavit’ which was absolutely the correct thing to do.”The moral of the story is that even a doctored report (of the inquiry officer) cannot hide the truth. The real issue is whether Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in a genuine encounter or a fake encounter. Only the trial of the case, pending since July 2013, will bring out the truth,” he added.

Ishrat Jahan case: No ‘tutoring’, conducted fair probe, says MHA officer involved

After a controversy broke out over his purported “tutoring” of witnesses in Ishrat Jahan case, senior Home Ministry official B K Prasad on Thursday rejected the allegation and claimed to have conducted a “free and fair” enquiry.Prasad, an Additional Secretary in the ministry and who has been given an extension for two months till July, was at the centre of a row after a newspaper report claimed that he was “tutoring” the witnesses.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The newspaper also uploaded the conversation in public domain where he is purportedly conveying the questions as well as answers to one of the witnesses questioned by him in connection with an enquiry related to missing documents in Ishrat Jahan case.Prasad, who is looking after the Foreigners division, said, “first of all, it is unethical to record my conversation that also with another officer without my permission and knowledge.”He said no evidence has been produced establishing that the officer testified by him was being tutored during the alleged conversation.”All officers enquired by me are or have been senior officers in the government and are fully capable of answering questions relating to the probe on their own and there is no question of the alleged tutoring. I have conducted a free and fair enquiry which my enquiry report will reveal,” he said in a statement.

Ishrat Jahan case: News report completely ‘vindicates’ position I had taken on two affidavits, says P Chidambaram

Former home minister P Chidamabram, who drew flak for the alleged two affidavits filed by the Centre in the Ishrat Jahan case, on Thursday said the reports published in a leading daily ‘completely exposed the fake controversy created by the NDA government’, adding that it vindicates his stand.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The news report published today comprehensively exposes the fake controversy created by the NDA government on the two affidavits filed by the Central government in the Ishrat Jahan case,” Chidambaram said in statement. “The report completely vindicates the position that I had taken on the two affidavits. The first affidavit (6 August 2009) disclosed the “intelligence inputs” that had been shared by the Central government with the State government,” he added.He further said Judge Tamang in his report on September 7, 2009 found that Ishrat Jahan and three others had been killed in a fake encounter. “The report caused uproar in Gujarat and elsewhere. The first affidavit was misinterpreted and misused to defend the encounter,” he said, adding “It was, therefore, necessary to clarify the first affidavit. Hence, a ‘further affidavit’ was filed clarifying that intelligence inputs, do not constitute conclusive proof and it is for the State government and the State police to act on such inputs,” he added.The former finance minister further said the contents of the ‘further affidavit’ (especially paras 2 and 5) are absolutely clear and correct. “It is unfortunate that most people who commented on the matter had not cared to read the ‘further affidavit’,” he added. Chidambaram also said the five “missing” documents completely vindicated the position he had taken. “The sequence of events conclusively establishes that we had acted in a totally transparent manner. The draft of the ‘further affidavit’ was vetted by the Attorney General, the highest law officer of the country, before it was filed,” he said.”The file passed through the hands of the Home Secretary at least 3 or 4 times. Ultimately, the ‘further affidavit’ was filed in Court on the orders of the Home Secretary,” he added. The former union minister said he takes full responsibility for filing the ‘further affidavit’ which was absolutely the correct thing to do. “The moral of the story is that even a doctored report (of the Inquiry Officer) cannot hide the truth. The real issue is whether Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in a genuine encounter or a fake encounter. Only the trial of the case, pending since July 2013, will bring out the truth,” he added.According to a report published in a daily, a Union Home Ministry official, who headed the probe into the missing documents in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, not only told a witness the questions he would ask but also suggested to him what answers he should give that he had not seen any of the documents.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier said many documents related to the preparation of the ministry’s second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case are missing and an internal inquiry has been ordered.

Ishrat Jahan missing files case: Probe officer tutored witness during investigation, says report

Union Home Ministry official BK Prasad, who led the investigation into the ‘missing documents’ in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, informed a witness about the questions he would ask and also tutored him on how to answer them, reports The Indian Express.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The probe was being carried out to find out the circumstances under which the UPA government dropped references in the second affidavit to Ishrat’s alleged connection to Lashkar-e-Toiba, and led to a CBI probe into her June 15, 2004 encounter.According to an IE phone recording on 25 April, 2016, BK Prasad was reportedly talking to Ashok Kumar, Joint Secretary (Parliament, Hindi Division and Nodal Officer for monitoring of court cases) in the Department of Commerce. The report says Prasad told Kumar that while giving his statement, he would be asked whether he had seen the paper (belonging to the Ishrat Jahan case). Prasad then tutors Kumar to say that he should reply to the question saying that he had not seen the paper. He then reportedly tells Kumar that if he gives a different response, then questions would be raised about him having played a role in the disappearance of the files.Kumar was supposed to give his statement the next day of the phone call. He was Director in the Internal Security division of the Home Ministry from 1 March, 2011 to 23 December, 2011, which was in-charge of the Ishrat Jahan case at that time.While Kumar has not denied getting a call from Prasad regarding the inquiry, he did not give details about the conversation. Meanwhile, Prasad gave a statement to IE denying that officers responded to his questions based on any tutoring as suggested by the report. Prasad is a 1983 batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre and was supposed to retire on May 31 but his service was extended till July 31.Meanwhile, former UPA Home Minister P Chidambaram who was in hot water over the missing files issue said, “The report comprehensively exposes the fake controversy created by the NDA government on the two affidavits filed by the Central government in the Ishrat Jahan case. It completely vindicates the position that I had taken on the two affidavits.”I take full responsibility for filing the ‘further affidavit’ which was absolutely the correct thing to do. “The moral of the story is that even a doctored report (of the Inquiry Officer) cannot hide the truth. The real issue is whether Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in a genuine encounter or a fake encounter. Only the trial of the case, pending since July 2013, will bring out the truth.”

Shiv Sena slams Congress for fielding Chidambaram from Maharashtra for Rajya Sabha

Shiv Sena on Monday slammed Congress for fielding former Union minister P Chidambaram from Maharashtra for the Rajya Sabha poll, saying the party has “damaged itself by foisting him on the state”.An editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ noted that the ED has sent Letters Rogatory (judicial requests) to UK and Singapore in connection with its money laundering probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal case and parallel investigations in the financial transactions of some companies belonging to friends of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It has also been alleged that Chidambaram amended the affidavit to drop references to Ishrat Jahan’s LeT link, in order to prove the ‘human bomb’ of LeT innocent,” the editorial said.”Considering all this, Congress has damaged itself by foisting Chidambaram on Maharashtra. The answer to the question whether wisdom will dawn on Congress has come in the negative,” it said.”Whom to nominate for Rajya Sabha is its (Congress’) internal issue. But Congress has sinned in fielding Chidambaram, who has no place left in Tamil Nadu,” it said.While Karti has denied any wrongdoing and has reiterated his cooperation with probe agencies, his father P Chidambaram had accused the government of a “malicious onslaught” launched by it against his family.”All said and done, senior leaders enter the House of Elders. Two lawyers, Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal were nominated to defend the Congress, but has Congress left anything (to defend) in the country,” the Sena asked.The duo’s entry into Rajya Sabha won’t make much of a difference as Congress is helpless before the barrage unleashed by Subramanian Swamy, it said.”More than defending Congress, the duo’s candidature seems to have been finalised for defending Sonia and Rahul Gandhi,” the Sena said.

DG Vanzara says Asaram Bapu framed, seeks his exoneration in rape case

Retired IPS officer D G Vanzara, out on bail in the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case, on Sunday demanded dropping of charges against him as well as the rape case accused Asaram Bapu, saying the very forces who “framed” him also “falsely implicated” the godman.”Same forces who were responsible for framing charges against me and putting me in jail are responsible for arresting Asaram and the charges against him (Asaram) too should be dropped,” the former Gujarat DIG told reporters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A CBI court had in April relaxed bail conditions of Vanzara, a key accused in the alleged fake encounters of Ishrat Jahan, Soharabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati, and allowed him to enter and stay in Gujarat.”As a police officer I have studied the FIR filed against Asaram and I am of the opinion that the charges should be dropped against him,” said Vanzara who considers himself a loyal devotee of the self-styled godman.Asaram is currently in jail in Jodhpur in connection with the alleged rape of a minor girl. He was also booked for raping a Surat-based woman.Meanwhile, Vanzara also hinted that he could contest Gujarat Assembly elections next year.When asked about which political party he is planning to join, the former IPS officer said, “That question will arise at the time of the election. Today, there is no question of choosing a party. Today, I am a citizen of this country and I am just a common man and as a common man I want to serve 6.5 crore people of Gujarat”.He claimed that cases against him, Asaram and Sadhvi Pragya, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, are fabricated. The NIA recently dropped all charges against Sadhvi and five others in the blast case.Vanzara was felicitated at a function organised by the city-based Gujarat Asmita Sangh.

2008 Malegaon blasts case: Congress alleges ‘direct interference by PMO’, BJP says charges dropped as per laws

BJP on Sunday rejected Congress charge of “direct interference” by PMO to ensure “reversal” of NIA stand in Malegaon case, insisting that discharge of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and others had occurred in accordance with laws. The ruling party also took a swipe at Congress over its demand for a Supreme Court-monitored probe and said during the UPA rule, “no evidence” could be collected in the case that dragged on for years. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The charges were dropped in accordance with the laws, party national secretary Shrikant Sharma said about the NIA giving a clean chit to Pragya and removing charges under MCOCA against another key accused Colonel P S Purohit. “The case had dragged on for years in court when the UPA was in power but no evidence was produced. Now Congress is questioning the entire legal process. It should not give colour to terrorism and politicise the issue,” he said. “Congress leaders had insulted the Supreme Court by questioning the hanging of (1993 Mumbai blast convict) Yakub Memon and (2001 Parliament attack convict) Afzal Guru. Now they are seeking a SC-monitored probe even though everything has happened in the Malegaon blasts as per law,” Sharma said. He claimed that stringent MCOCA charge was dropped against some accused on the court’s directions. Sharma also raked up the Ishrat Jahan case saying the UPA government had “misled” the apex court by changing affidavit even though goverment agencies had “confirmed” that she was a LeT terrorist. BJP spokesman Nalin Kohli, while rejecting the Congress allegation of “direct interference” by PMO in Malegaon case, charged that during UPA’s 10-year rule, the investigative agencies were not allowed to do their job. “Under Prime Minister Modi’s government, no interference is there. The courts are reposing faith in the agencies, no castigation is there,” he said. Kohli said if the agency finds there is lack of evidence on the basis of which to proceed “which may have been driven by political reasons under the Congress, they will now obviously make those corrections.” Hitting back, he said, “Under the Congress-led UPA rule, scam after scam came, the investigative agencies were not allowed to do their job. The Supreme Court even called CBI a caged parrot,” he said.

Gujarat HC admits Julio Ribeiro’s PIL against PP Pandey’s appointment as incharge DGP

The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday admitted a PIL filed by former supercop Julio Ribeiro, challenging the appointment of IPS officer P P Pandey as in-charge DGP of Gujarat when he is an accused in the alleged fake encounter case of Mumbai college student Ishrat Jahan.A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and V M Pancholi admitted the PIL and asked the public prosecutor to take instructions from the state government on the issue. The court has kept the matter for further hearing on June 8.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Public prosecutor Manisha Lav Kumar was asked to take instructions from the government. Ribeiro has in a PIL challenged the appointment of Pandey, who is an accused in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others, and has sought to restrain him from holding the top police post.Ribeiro had served as the DGP of Gujarat and Punjab, the latter during the height of insurgency in the northern state which earned him the sobriquet as a super cop. He has stated that Pandey’s holding the post could hamper the investigation and influence witnesses in the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others in which he is an accused.Ribeiro has stated that Pandey’s authority and influence of his post will affect witnesses many of whom are serving police officers who are were witnesses in the criminal case.Pandey, an accused in the case, was jailed after Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating the case, charge sheeted him along with other police officials in the encounter case. Pandey, who was suspended after his arrest in the Ishrat fake encounter case, was taken back in service four days after his release on bail on 5th February 2015.After being in jail for eighteen months before his release on bail, he was appointed as Director of Anti-Corruption Bureau. A case is pending in an Ahmedabad court. He took took over as in-charge DGP of Gujarat following unexpected transfer of incumbent P C Thakur to Delhi, on April 16.Ishrat (19), Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillay, Amjadali Akabarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an alleged fake encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. Gujarat police had then claimed that the four with links to Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba had come to the city to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi.

Ishrat Jahan case: PP Pandey, GL Singhal get court nod to visit abroad

A special CBI Court on Monday granted permission to in-charge Gujarat DGP P P Pandey, an accused in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case who is currently on bail, to travel abroad for two months.The court presided by Judge S J Raje, also allowed another IPS officer G L Singhal, Pandey’s co-accused, to travel abroad for a month. The Judge gave the nod to the police officers by modifying their bail conditions that barred them from leaving India. Both Pandey and Singhal were asked to deposit Rs 2 lakh each as security money.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The two IPS officers, chargesheeted in the alleged fake encounter case of 2004 and currently out on bail, had moved the Court with pleas to modify their bail conditions so that they could go abroad. Pandey told the court he wanted to visit the UK to meet his son and his family and also conduct research for his PhD. Singhal, on the other hand, sought relief on the ground he needed to visit universities abroad in connection with higher education of his daughter. The two police officers were named along with five others in the first charge sheet filed by CBI in July 2013.The case relates to alleged fake encounter killing of Mumbai-based 19-year-old college girl Ishrat Jahan and others accompanying her, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana, by police on the city’s outskirts on June 15, 2004. The police had then claimed they were on a terror mission.Other officers named in the charge sheet included N K Amin, D G Vanjara and their subordinates Tarun Barot, J G Parmar and Anaju Chaudhary. In the charge sheet, the central agency had said the encounter, a joint operation between Gujarat Police and Intelligence Bureau, was stage-managed. Pandey, Director of Anti-Corruption Bureau, was given the additional post of in-charge DGP last month, while Singhal serves as Group Commandant in State Reserve Police.

VVIP chopper scam: Note from middleman reportedly calls Sonia Gandhi ‘driving force’ behind AgustaWestland deal

BJP and Congress were headed for an escalating confrontation over allegations of bribery in the Rs.3,6000 crore VVIP helicopter deal during the UPA regime, with Sonia Gandhi clearly being the target of the ruling party’s attack.Reports from Italy based on a court judgement citing notes from middlemen that around Rs.120 crore were paid to some political leaders in the deal provided fodder to the BJP which has decided to attack the Congress leadership both inside and outside Parliament. A note from a middleman reportedly describing Gandhi as the “driving force” behind the deal was seized upon by BJP, but the Congress hit back saying that integrity of Gandhi and the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was unquestioned.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The top brass of the BJP including its President Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other parliamentary leaders met here to chalk out a strategy. The issue also figured in the BJP Parliamentary Party where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present. Congress would also be targeted on the controversial Aircel Maxis deal and the affidavits in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.Dismissing allegations, A K Antony, the defence minister in the UPA government, asked the Modi government to fast track the probe into the chopper scam and find out the truth as the UPA government had cancelled the contract and ordered a CBI investigation into it.”When the primary allegation came out in the media, we immediately ordered a CBI inquiry. We cancelled the contract and fought the case in the Milan court. We won the case and got back all the money we paid in advance by bank guarantee,” he told reporters. “The Indian government has gained more (information) now. My request to the Indian government is that the probe has been going on for a long and hence please speed up the inquiry and find the truth,” he said.The Congress party also hit back at the BJP leaders and said they reject all allegations against Gandhi and Singh “with the contempt they deserve”. “No one should be making loose comments against the Congress President and the former PM, whose integrity and intellect was never in question,” party deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma told the media. Sharma also claimed that a businessman “close to” Modi has entered into an MoU with AgustaWestland. But he refused to name him. The BJP fielded Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to attack the Congress on the chopper deal. He asked the defence minister in the Manmohan Singh government A K Antony to name the party leaders allegedly involved in the scandal. “Bribe-givers have been convicted. Why are bribe-takers silent? Antony should answer if leaders of Congress are involved in it or not. Are they from your party or not? Please come clean,” he told a press conference.BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi should come out with a clarification over the alleged mention of her name in the Italian court’s order. “Her government was the champion of corruption. She must issue a clarification over the mention of her name by the court,” he told the media. Subramanian Swamy, who took oath as the newly-nominated member of Rajya Sabha today and the bete noire of Congress’ first family, will rake up the chopper deal issue in the Rajya Sabha for which notice has been given. Meenakshi Lekhi is expected to do the job in the Lok Sabha tomorrow.A top BJP leader said it is significant that for the first time the bribe giver has been convicted but still people do not know who the bribe-taker is. The Aircel Maxis issue is likely to be raked up by Anurag Thakur in the Lok Sabha while in the upper house it may be raised by Bhupender Yadav. Similarly, the Ishrat Jahan case pot will be stirred by Kirit Somayya in the Lok Sabha.Ex- IAF chief KC Tyagi denies wrongdoing”My first reaction is shock… How can anybody say this, on what basis?” Tyagi told NDTV when asked whether he was involved in the VVIP chopper scam. “They have blamed me for corrupt practices in which I changed the height to assist AgustaWestland, although this decision was not against the public interest. But I was nevertheless being (called) corrupt,” the former IAF chief said.”It would appear that the part of the loot came to me. I am shocked,” he said. Referring to the case, he said, “This is not a new case. (It has been) going on for years. All the evidences were also presented to the court in Milan itself. The trial court in Milan gave judgement in which they said there was no case of corruption. “Same evidence was now produced in High Court. They seem to feel that it was done in corrupt practices. Why they have said it I am not in a position to comment,” he said.Asked pointedly whether he had received money for the Augusta deal, Tyagi said, “No, no, no, no. This question hurts me.”

Web of deceit woven by govt to save Modi and Shah: Cong leaders on Ishrat Jahan case

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.

A file photo of Narendra Modi. AFPA file photo of Narendra Modi. AFP

A file photo of Narendra Modi. AFP

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.

Ishrat Jahan case: Congress being recognised as pro-terrorism, says BJP

Raking up Ishrat Jahan case, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today targeted Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi while alleging that the party is being seen as “pro-terrorism” after the “real face” of the girl killed in a Gujarat encounter has been “exposed”.He singled out former Home Minister P Chidambaram, alleging that he had done the “sinful” act by “changing” his own ministry’s affidavit to “present a terrorist as a nationalist”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Naqvi said they had projected “terrorist” Ishrat Jahan as an innocent person to defame the then Gujarat government headed by Narendra Modi.”Now when Ishrat’s real face has been exposed, these leaders of Congress are not exhibiting the courage to apologize for their negativities,” the Minister of State for Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs said addressing public meetings. His remarks came against the backdrop of a fresh contention which said that the second affidavit of the Home Ministry given to Supreme Court in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case had been changed to portray her as innocent and not a terrorist.”Is it not a shame that a Home Minister of that (UPA) era changed his own affidavit to present a terrorist as a nationalist? It is really surprising that present leadership of the (Congress) party has been placing a white carpet on the sinful, black deeds of the then Home Minister,” Naqvi said.”It can easily be said that Congress has been an industry of sins… They (Congress) are being recognized as pro-terrorism,” the BJP leader alleged.He also referred to Samjhauta Express blast and said, “it was Sonia Rahul’s Congress which had termed it as ‘Saffron terrorism’ and very disgracefully presented the issue to Pakistan to make that a tool to defame and launch blistering attacks against India.”Talking about drought, the Union minister said the central government was determined to give maximum assistance to the drought-hit states “but we expect that they would not be found wanting on maximum utilization of those finances.” He said through the Modi government’s ‘Green India’ programme, the farmers might become self sufficient in facing such calamities like drought.For fulfillment of that purpose, the central government would provide Rs 80 lack to each Gram Sabha.

Ishrat Jahan case: Chidambaram played with country’s security, says Kiren Rijiju

Maintaining that the question as to whether former union home minister P. Chidambaram had signed the affidavits in the Ishrat Jahan case is already in the public domain, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday trained his guns on the Congress and alleged that there could be more people involved in it.Rijiju said the basic question that arises is how a home minister could absolve a terrorist on his own.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Chidambaram Saheb was the home minister, who was responsible for India’s security. And if the home minister starts playing with the country’s security, what will happen to the nation. I am asking how can a home minister absolve a terrorist on his own, there must be a grand design behind that, in which more people will be involved. A responsible home minister can’t play such a big game with the nation’s security,” Rijiju told ANI in an exclusive interview.
ALSO READ Ishrat Jahan case: Arun Jaitley accuses Congress of compromising national security”I want to say that the planned manner in which the Congress Party coined and used the term ‘Bhagwa Atankwaad’ (Saffron Terror) and the way Chidambarm acted as the home minister, they appear to be connected,” he added.Rijiju accused the Congress Party of playing with the nation’s security.”We too did not trust it initially, but as things unfolded before us we have come to know that they have played a big game with the country’s security. We are looking into it and will take action, but the Congress Party should answer,” Rijiju said.”It has become clear from Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in Parliament and what we have seen in the Home Ministry that the previous government, especially former home minister P. Chidambaram, used position (power) in a very wrong manner,” he added.Responding to allegations that the Ishrat encounter was ‘fake’, he said: “It’s a different issue. When Osama-bin -Laden was killed by America’s special force in Pakistan, did anybody question that the encounter was wrong or was not according to law. Whatever happens with terrorism is a different issue.”Meanwhile, BJP has questioned the Congress Party’s silence over reports claiming that Chidambaram had signed the first affidavit in the Ishrat case, and accused the grand old party of hatching a conspiracy against the people of India with a political agenda.”Latest revelation on Ishrat Jahan has actually nailed Chidambaram and the Congress because of the dubious way with which they wanted to implicate Narendra Modi. They have done great disservice to the country,” Javadekar told ANI.”It is a conspiracy against the people of India. This needs to be taken to its logical conclusion. And I am wondering why Chidambaram and Rahul Gandhi are silent. This was a conspiracy with a political agenda,” he added.Media reports revealed that Chidambaram had in fact signed the first affidavit, which declared Ishrat and three others as terrorists, but gave all four a clean chit a month later as serious amendments were made in the second affidavit also signed by him.The first affidavit in the encounter case stated that Ishrat was a LeT operative, who was part of a plot to assassinate the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Chidambaram had initially claimed that the first affidavit declaring Ishrat and three others as terrorists was filed in the court without his approval, adding that he had made some editorial changes to avoid misinterpretation when the matter was brought to his notice.Chidambaram, however, completely altered his stance in the second affidavit, saying that intelligence inputs on Ishrat and the three others did not constitute conclusive proof and favoured a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the encounter.

Congress hatched conspiracy with ‘political agenda’: Javadekar on Ishrat Jahan case

Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday questioned the Congress Party’s silence over reports claiming that former home minister P. Chidambaram had signed the first affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, and accused the grand old party of hatching a conspiracy against the people of India with a political agenda.”Latest revelation on Ishrat Jahan has actually nailed Chidambaram and the Congress because of the dubious way with which they wanted to implicate Narendra Modi. They have done great disservice to the country,”Javadekar told ANI. “It is a conspiracy against the people of India. This needs to be taken to its logical conclusion. And I am wondering why Chidambaram and Rahul Gandhi are silent. This was a conspiracy with a political agenda,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Media reports revealed that Chidambaram had in fact signed the first affidavit, which declared Ishrat and three others as terrorists, but gave all four a clean chit a month later as serious amendments were made in the second affidavit also signed by him.The first affidavit in the encounter case stated that Ishrat was a LeT operative, who was part of a plot to assassinate the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Chidambaram had initially claimed that the first affidavit declaring Ishrat and three others as terrorists was filed in the court without his approval, adding that he had made some editorial changes to avoid misinterpretation when the matter was brought to his notice.Chidambaram, however, completely altered his stance in the second affidavit, saying that intelligence inputs on Ishrat and the three others did not constitute conclusive proof and favoured a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the encounter.

Ishrat Jahan encounter accused DG Vanzara returns home after 9 years; announces entry into public life

Gandhinagar: Retired IPS officer D G Vanzara, who is out on bail in Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case, returned home on Friday after nine years. He announced that he will now enter public life.

Vanzara, a key accused in the alleged fake encounters of Ishrat Jahan, Soharabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati, was given a grand welcome by his family members and well-wishers in Gandhinagar.

The CBI court had last week relaxed bail conditions by allowing him to enter and stay in Gujarat.

At a welcome function held at the Town Hall in Gandhinagar, Vanzara said it was the beginning of his public life and he would fight for the rights of the people.

A file photo of DG Vanzara. AFPA file photo of DG Vanzara. AFP

A file photo of DG Vanzara. AFP

Using the analogy of cricket, Vanzara said, “I am retired, but not tired. My first inning is over, but my second and most important inning starts now. Till now, I was fielding. Now, the bat is in my hand. I will bat and those who conspired against me and other innocent officers will have to field. I will make them run hard.”

“As an officer in the past, I used to be with needy people to understand and solve their problems rather than sit in air-conditioned cabin. Once again, I will stand with such people and try to solve their problems. I hereby announce that I have entered in public life from today,” he said.

After remaining in jail for eight years, Vanzara walked out of Sabarmati prison in February 2015 after he was granted bail in the Ishrat Jahan case on condition that he will not enter Gujarat. Since then, he was living in Mumbai.

The former officer, who retired in 2014 while in jail, also claimed that there was an urgent need to change the prevailing situation in Gujarat as well as in India. He also called for a mass movement to uproot corruption and inflation.

“I am not happy with the prevalent situation in India and Gujarat. There is an urgent need to change it. If the government does not support people, then it is not possible to bring development. There is a need to start a people’s movement to bring development,” he said, addressing a gathering of around 3,000 people.

Accusing politicians of being ‘real anti-nationals’, Vanzara held them responsible for putting him and many other police officers in Gujarat in jails in fake encounter cases.

“We can save India from terrorism. We can also save our country from the attacks of China or Pakistan. But, it is difficult to save India from anti-national politicians. Due to them, officers like us have spend eight years in jail. These traitor politicians conspired against us for their own political gains,” he added.

Vanzara was arrested on 24 April, 2007 by CID crime in connection with the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

In September 2014, the Mumbai court had given bail to Vanzara in the Soharabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases, a year before he was granted bail in Ishrat case.

When asked by reporters, Vanzara, however, refused to divulge whether he would join active politics.

“You will find out in due course as to how I will start my public life. My objective is to unite people for a mass movement to bring development. I hereby announce attaching myself with this movement,” Vanzara told reporters before heading to his palatial bungalow in the state capital.

Senior IPS officer and co-accused in the Ishrat Jahan case P P Pandey, who is currently posted as the Director of Gujarat State Anti Corruption Bureau also attended the event.

Pandey and Vanzara had spent around 18 months together in Sabarmati jail before they were released on bail.

“I know Vanzara and his family from the day I landed in Gujarat in 1982 as an IPS officer. We spent one and half years in jail. According to me, he is a person of strong will, who never runs away from fighting the odds. At the same time, he is also very spiritual,” Pandey said.

NIA did not record my statements on 26/11 in my exact words: David Headley

Mumbai: Pakistani-American terrorist-turned-approver David Coleman Headley on Saturday alleged that the India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) did not record his statements on various aspects of the 26/11 investigations in his “exact” words.

He said that on the fourth day of his ongoing cross-examination before a Mumbai special court that he had given details on various aspects to the NIA officials.

However, his statements were not read out to him, he did not seek a copy of his statement nor was it provided to him by the NIA, Headley said, raising serious doubts on the NIA statement.

Headley referred to certain statements he made to the NIA on the former terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Muzammil Bhatt and Thane collegian Ishrat Jahan who was killed in an encounter by Gujarat Police along with three other male friends near Ahmedabad in 2004.

David Headley exposes Pakistan's role in 26/11. IBNLiveDavid Headley exposes Pakistan's role in 26/11. IBNLive

David Headley’s role in 26/11. IBNLive

Headley made the startling revelation during his cross-examination before Special Judge G.A. Sanap by lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan, who is defending Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, one of the prime accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes.

Speaking via video-conferencing from an unknown place in the US, Headley said that in 2003, LeT cheif Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi had introduced him to Muzammil Bhatt as a top LeT commander who had carried out the Akshardham Temple strike and Ishrat Jahan matter, of which he had prior knowledge through the newspapers.

Headley said that the NIA recorded his statements in words different from what he had told them… for instance, he (Headley) never said that when Lakhvi introduced him to Bhatt, he (Lakhvi) referred to him (Bhatt) sarcarstically that he was top commander whose every major operation had failed.

“I cannot explain why NIA did not did not record my statement in my exact words… They never read out the statement to me after recording… I did not ask for the copy and they never gave me a copy,” Headley said.

When he was shown a copy of his statement to NIA, Headley said that he was seeing it first time, but admitted that he had told NIA about an LeT women’s wing which was headed by the mother of Abu Aiman.

IANS

David Headley’s cross-examination to start on March 23

The cross-examination of Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case was today deferred to Wednesday.It was earlier scheduled for Tuesday. “We informed the court that one of the attorneys of Headley was not well and requested the court to start the proceedings from Wednesday. The court ordered accordingly,” Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nikam said Headley’s cross-examination will go on for four days. Abdul Wahab Khan, the lawyer of Abu Jundal, an alleged key plotter of the terror attack, will cross-examine. Headley, who has turned an approver, concluded his week-long deposition before Mumbai sessions court through a video-link from the US on February 13.On February 22, Judge G A Sanap had directed Nikam to contact US authorities for Headley’s second round of deposition and inform the court by February 25, after which the dates of his testimony were to be finalised.Jundal’s lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan then sought four days to cross-examine Headley. Khan has also filed an application objecting to Headley being made an approver by the court.Headley, who is serving a 35-year jail term in the US, said in his deposition how Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI provides “financial, military and moral support” to terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen, and how LeT planned and executed the 26/11 attack. He also said that Ishrat Jahan, killed in an allegedly fake encounter in Gujarat, was an LeT operative.

Assembly elections, JNU row among issues to be discussed at BJP National executive meet

The “disinformation” campaign by Congress to “defame” the Modi government, the Ishrat Jahan and JNU rows, besides the “pro-poor and rural-centric” budget will be the key issues on the agenda at BJP’s two-day National Executive meet beginning here on March 19.”The opposition, especially Congress, has been exposed in the last 20 months over a host of issues, be it returning of awards by a section of intelligentsia or JNU row where it chose to side with anti-national forces. These will come up for discussion,” a party leader said. Elections to five state assemblies in April-May will be part of the deliberations during which Uttar Pradesh, which will go to the polls early next year and where BJP’s stakes are high, may also figure.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The need to inform the masses about the “pro-poor and pro-village” aspects of the budget will be stressed upon at the meeting, party sources said, adding that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be the main speaker on the issue. The party’s office-bearers will meet on Saturday and the much-larger Executive will go into a huddle in the afternoon.Party chief Amit Shah will set the tone for the exercise with his inaugural address to the Executive. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the valedictory session on Sunday, they said. The event will provide the party yet another opportunity to project its hardline nationalist credentials in the wake of the JNU row.All top party leaders, including Shah, had hit out at Congress, particularly its vice president Rahul Gandhi, over the issue at a Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha convention recently. “We believe that the issue has highlighted Congress’ increasing ideological hollowness and that it can take up any cause in its desperation to target the government,” sources said. The recent revelations in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case will also provide ammunition to the party to attack Congress.

Government pats itself on back for "most rewarding" session, even as acrimony steals time

As the first phase of the budget session came to an end, the government appears to be having the last laugh. Despite the government-opposition standoff on the floor of the House on several issues, it has been one of the most productive 15 sittings, in terms of hours and legislations, since the Modi government came to power.The Lok Sabha worked 123 per cent of the scheduled time, with an extra 25 hours, and Rajya Sabha 103 per cent, according to official data. However, of this the Lower House spent 36 per cent and the Upper House 49 per cent of the time in business other than legislative, financial and questions, of which both Houses spent over eight hours each on contentious issues like JNU, HRD minister Smriti Irani’s speech in Parliament, Ishrat Jahan and Aircel-Maxis deal.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst the face off, six bills, including Real Estate and Aadhaar were passed in Parliament.In Lok Sabha, nearly five hours were spent on debating recent incidents in institutions of higher education like JNU and Hyderabad University, around an hour-and-a-half on the alleged alteration of affidavit relating to the Ishrat Jehan case and nearly two hours on the Aircel-Maxis scam, according to PRS legislative research data.In Rajya Sabha, the JNU issue was discussed for nearly six hours, inflammatory speeches made by a Minister in the Union Government and elected representatives violating the Constitution and oath of office for 1.40 hours and breakdown of law and order in Delhi for 1.20 hours. In Question Hour, which fixes accountability on the bureaucracy and the ministry concerned, got minuscule attention in the Upper House which spent only 12 per cent of the time on it.Patting itself on the back, the government flaunted its “key takeaways” from the session, in which nine bills were passed in Lok Sabha and 11 in Rajya Sabha, even as the Congress claimed credit for the productivity saying it was because of its cooperation.”Of all the sessions of Parliament that we have had since our assumption of office in May, 2014, this budget session has been the most significant and rewarding on several counts,” Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said at a press conference on Wednesday.Though acrimonious scenes cast a shadow on the session, as the treasury benches and opposition sparred on several issues, government floor managers worked behind the scenes to ensure passage of bills. Naidu had breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings as part of his attempts to reach out to the Opposition to get parties on board to pass the real estate bill, according to sources. They said the government has made more aggressive afforts to reach out to the Opposition this time.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself been working from his Parliament House office through the day during the budget session. Unlike in earlier sessions, when he would generally spend only the first half of the day, he would reach Parliament by 10.30 and spend most of the day, sources said.The Congress tried to puncture the government’s jubilation saying the session will go down in history in bypassing of Rajya Sabha by “subterfuge, manipulation & a colourable exercise and abuse of power.”Describing Article 110(1) of the Constitution as clear and unequivocal, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, said that to qualify as a money bill, it must only deal with any of the items listed in the article. “Applying that test, the Aadhar bill does not deal with imposition, abolition, alteration, etc, of tax; nor does it deal with the regulation of borrowing or giving a guarantee by the government or an amendment in respect of any financial obligation to be undertaken by the government,” he said.”You are in fact using 110(3) progressively and please connect it with the Leader of the Upper House’s repeated statement that why do you need the Rajya Sabha – the so-called Sotheby principle. Why a Bill has to be passed in Two Houses – one House is enough. Now that is an insult to the upper House, it is an insult to Indian democracy; it is an insult to the Rajya Sabha,” he told reporters.

Parliament Live: Uproar in Rajya Sabha over TMC’s refusal to probe sting operation

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The NGT on Tuesday questioned the Centre as to why no environmental clearance is needed for constructing temporary structures on Yamuna plains as building of pontoon bridge by army for cultural festival comes under the scanner of NGT. This was during a hearing on pleas seeking the cancellation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living three-day ‘World Culture Festival’ on the Yamuna flood plains to celebrate 35 years of the foundation.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar heard the matter in which the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Uttar Pradesh and Delhi government made their submissions with regard to grant of permission to the festival.

On 3 March, DDA had submitted that it had granted conditional permission for organising the event and had no idea about the magnitude of the programme. The event later drew criticism after some activists petitioned the NGT, a quasi-judicial body on environmental issues, asking it to stop the event as it would have a deep impact on the Yamuna flood plains.

The DDA backed its decision to grant permission for the festival, while the Art of Living said it has fulfilled all conditions and taken requisite permissions for the event.
“We’ll leave it as a beautiful bio-diversity park. As per my knowledge, not even a single tree has been cut down, we’ve only trimmed four trees. We want the Yamuna to be clean. We will not pollute the environment. We haven’t cut a single tree,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar reacting to the criticism over army men construction the pontoon bridge, reports DNA.

Meanwhile, a source close to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told IANS said the Indian Army’s decision to make pontoon bridges for the upcoming event was taken after Delhi Police expressed a fear of stampede at the venue, where around 30 lakh people are expected.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The source also said the Art of Living Foundation may not be charged for the bridges as there is no policy in place for it.

The defence minister has, however, directed the defence secretary to formulate a policy for the army’s involvement in such events in future.

Earlier on Monday, President Pranab Mukherjee decided to pull out of a cultural extravaganza being organised by Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as a controversy raged over the event.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the event on Friday and the President was to attend the valedictory function on Sunday.

“The President cannot attend the function due to unavoidable circumstances,” an official of the Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Monday.

The NGT will resume its hearing on Wenesday on holding of the festival.

The AOL Foundation expects 35 lakh people to attend the function, concerns have been raised by experts about the likely damage to the environment that may be caused by holding it on the flood plains of the already polluted river in east Delhi.

The AOL foundation, which is organising the function, will have yoga and meditation sessions, peace prayers by Sanskrit scholars and traditional cultural performances from around the world.
The three-day event will be held from 11-13 March.
With inputs from agencies

With UP polls on mind, BJP brass asks state party MPs to get act together

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh MPs was crisp and clear — pull up your socks. This was conveyed at a dinner meeting on Monday, when Modi, an MP from Varanasi, asked them two short and simple questions, which had met with silence.He first asked how many parliamentarians from the state were aware of the number of villages in their constituencies where electricity had reached under the government’s rural electrification scheme– Deendayal Upadhyaya Grameen Jyoti Yojana. Nobody raised a hand.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister then asked how many had downloaded the Grameen Vidyutikaran mobile app, which allows anyone to track the progress in the field of rural electrification in India through a real-time dashboard. Again, none of the MPs raised a hand.Under the rural electrification scheme, the government plans to reach all unelectrified villages by March 31, 2017.With assembly elections in the crucial state just a year away, this is the third meeting held of UP parliamentarians, which includes the Prime Minister. The BJP had swept the state in the Lok Sabha elections winning 71 seats.Of the half a dozen rallies being planned by the BJP in the state, Modi is likely to be present at Mau and Kanpur. The Mau rally could coincide with BR Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14, party sources said. The BJP has asked all its district units to celebrate the Ambedkar’s anniversary.Party President Amit Shah, who was then state in-charge, asked the MPs to create awareness about the government schemes, like the Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana, which provides free LPG connections to women of BPL households. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had allocated Rs 2000 crore for 1.5 crore LPG connections and said the plan will be carried on for a minimum of additional two years to cover five crore BPL families.Worried that awareness about government’s schemes was not reaching the ground, the BJP leadership has been asking party MPs to go to their constituencies and tell people about them. After the party’s defeat in Bihar, the BJP wants to leave no stone unturned in the UP election.Though it is fighting elections in the states going to polls this year, for the BJP the next high-stake battle is UP. The government, which was branded pro-corporate by the Opposition, has been trying to underline that it had prioritised the poor, farmers, villages and women. This message has been conveyed through the budget and the Prime Minister’s speeches.At the weekly meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary party on Tuesday, Jaitley and Naidu asked MPs to take the achievements of the government to the people. They also asked the MPs to aggressively take on the Congress on the Ishrat Jehan case, Ghulam Nabi Azad’s comments on RSS and JNU and highlight the issue of nationalism.

Ishrat Jahan case: P Chidambaram says he made only ‘editorial’ changes in files

Amid the ongoing row over the controversial Ishrat Jahan case, former union home minister P. Chidambaram said that then home secretary G. K.Pillai went through affidavits related to the Ishrat Jahan encounter case thrice, and added that as minister, he only made ‘editorial’ changes to them as is a compulsive habit with lawyers like him.He asked, “Tell me which part of the (second) affidavit is wrong, which sentence of the affidavit is wrong.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”What does that paragraph in the second affidavit say? The second affidavit says: “The first affidavit has been misinterpreted. Intelligence Bureau only shares intelligence with the state government, intelligence information is not conclusive proof; it is for the investigation agency to gather evidence and present it to a court.” Chidambaram told media on the sidelines of a book release function.When specifically asked about allegations levelled against him, Chidambaram said nobody has levelled any accusations against him.”The officer who said he did not know anything about the affidavit, is on record in Guwahati on July 13, 2013, of which ANI has got a video which put out (and) says that the second affidavit was perfectly justified. He has changed his view. In a free country, a person is entitled to change his view. The second affidavit was vetted by the attorney general of India. No part of the second affidavit was wrong,” Chidambaram said.Chidambaram reiterated that it is as is a compulsive habit with all lawyers; he made small ‘editorial’ changes in the affidavit.”This is a habit of all lawyers. Any lawyer would put a comma here and there or strike out a word. Then the file went back to the home secretary. The files passed the home secretary’s table at least three times,” he said.”And now, they say those papers are missing. To whose advantage has the vetted draft gone missing? I want the vetted draft. To whose interest is to say that the draft is missing? There is nothing to hide. I think the mystery has been unravelled now,” he further added.Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier ordered an ‘internal inquiry’ to probe how files concerning the affidavits filed in the Ishrat Jahan case have gone missing.Former home secretary G K Pillai had also claimed that there was “political interference” in the case which led to the deletion of reference to Lashkar-e-Taiba from the revised affidavit filed in 2009.Ishrat Jahan was killed in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004.The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides the Intelligence Bureau where it was said that the 19-year-old girl from Mumbai outskirts was a Lashkar-e-Taiba activist but it was ignored in the second affidavit.The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist.

Probe panel to find missing papers from Ishrat Jahan file

The Centre has constituted a one man inquiry committee to probe into the missing papers from files related to the case of alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan along with three others.Headed by additional secretary of the home ministry BK Prasad, the committee has been given one month time to find out which all documents under what circumstances went missing from the sensitive Ishrat Jahan case file.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union home minister Rajnath Singh had disclosed last week in the Parliament that the some key documents were missing from the Ishrat files and said that he would go to the bottom of the “deep conspiracy” hatched to frame the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in Ishrat Jahan case.The papers which mysteriously went missing from the sensitive file include two letters written by the then union home secretary G K Pillai to the then Attorney General late G E Vahanvati and the copy of the draft affidavit on which changes were made.Sources said, the committee will find out the person responsible for the upkeep of files and how and on whose insistence they were removed from the sensitive file.The first affidavit filed on the basis of inputs from Intelligence Bureau, Maharashtra and Gujarat Police in August 2009 stated that Ishrat Jahan, the 19-year-old girl from Mumbai outskirts, was a LeT terrorist. However, the reference of intelligence inputs was removed in the second affidavit that was re-submitted by in the high court on the insistence of then then union home minister P Chidambaram, said union home ministry officials.Former union home secretary GK 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 that Pillai and the then director Intelligence Bureau were equally responsible as they were part of the process to change in affidavit.

dna Must Reads: From latest in JNU row to inflation dropping to 5.18%

1. JNU Row: Univ probe panel report says some students violated norms, issues show cause notice to Kanhaiya Kumar, 20 othersThe High level inquiry committee constituted by JNU VC to enquire into February 9 incident has submitted the report and unanimously found that 21 students Including Kanhaiya Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya, Umar Khalid, ABVP’s Sourav Sharma violated the institution’s rules. Read more here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Govt sets up probe panel on missing files of Ishrat Jahan caseA one-man inquiry committee of Additional Secretary BK Prasad will probe the issue of missing files related to the case of alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, government said on Monday. Read more here.3. Watch – I won’t say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’: Asaduddin Owaisi to Mohan BhagwatAIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi has said he will not chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai,’ comments that came against the backdrop of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s suggestion that the new generation needs to be taught to chant slogans hailing mother India. “I don’t chant that slogan. What are you going to do, Bhagwat sahab,” Owaisi said, at a public rally in Udgir tehsil of Latur district. Read more here.4. Ahead of West Bengal elections, several top TMC leaders accused of bribery in sting operationA few weeks ahead of the first phase of the West Bengal Assembly Elections, a news website which carried out a two-long-year sting has accused several Trinamool Congress leaders of corruption. A website called naradanews.com has made startling claims about corruption within the ruling party. Read more here.5. Retail inflation drops to 5.18% in FebruaryConsumer Price Index (CPI) or retail inflation fell to 5.18% in the month of February 2016 as against 5.69% in January 2016, Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation said. According to the date provided by Central Statistics Office (CSO), food inflation fell to 5.30% in February 2016 as against 6.85% in January 2016. Read more here.

Can we stop calling it the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter? It wasn’t about her

The Supreme Court was absolutely right to throw out a public interest litigation asking it to stop the trial of the Gujarat policemen alleged to have killed Ishrat Jahan and three alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists in a “fake encounter” in 2004. The status of Ishrat and the other three as terrorists or innocents does not make a “fake” encounter any less “fake” if proved conclusively in a court of law with solid evidence.

However, it is not possible to jump to the other conclusion that who they were has no bearing on the case, as many Congress politicians and some legal eagles defending Ishrat would like to believe. If they were indeed terrorists and were about to indulge in acts of terrorism, whether with blasts or by assassinating a Chief Minister, the fake encounter develops mitigating flavours. It will impact the severity of the crime and the sentencing, assuming the prosecution actually proves the encounter was fake (which is far from certain).

Nor does the establishment of an encounter as staged diminish in anyway P Chidambaram’s post-facto decision to stage his own encounter with the truth by modifying the affidavit that led to the CBI chargesheet.

Ishrat Jahan. Image courtesy: IBNLiveIshrat Jahan. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Ishrat Jahan. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Here is an analogy that will help us see why the Ishrat aspect is not immaterial to the case. Also, Ishrat is not the central pivot of the “fake” encounter at all.

Let’s assume a woman is accused of murdering her husband, who, let’s say, is a popular actor with a huge fan following. The state’s home minister may decide that public sympathy is with the murdered actor and the mood is to convict the wife. He thus helps doctor the charge-sheet in such a way that some elements of the woman’s side of the story is erased. The minister helps delete a reference where the woman alleges she was beaten daily and raped by her actor husband. Now, is this doctoring valid on the plea that what the husband did before the murder does not change the fact that his wife committed a crime by killing him?

Assuming the evidence she killed him is strong, at the very least the judge would have to consider lenient sentencing given the mitigating circumstances.

The same logic should apply to the “fake” encounter case.

For starters, we are making a mistake by labelling it the Ishrat Jahan “fake encounter” case. By shifting the focus to a “20-year-old home science student” (as one retired civil servant put it in an article in The Economic Times on Saturday) and not the three other likely terrorists, we are trying to pretend the encounter was about her and not the other three. If the crime is seen to be less about her and more about the other three, the encounter would be seen as less heinous.

Murdering LeT terrorists in cold blood would still be a crime, but possibly more understandable. Even today, LeT terrorists are being killed every now and then in Jammu & Kashmir and we tend to obsess less about this. After all wasn’t this the very reason the Congress decided to hang Afzal Guru despite hesitating to do so for political reasons for years on end? Would the Congress have done so if Ishrat was in the place of Afzal Guru?

Secondly, it is by no means certain that Ishrat was all that innocent. A 20-year-old unmarried woman will not be travelling around the country with a man who was not her husband or even a close relative. And let’s not forget, two of those killed in that encounter were indeed Pakistanis. The links between Ishrat and the other three, if established, will demolish the claim that she had no unholy intentions at all. She was the deemed innocent providing the cover to the others. Aiding and abetting a terrorist act got Yakub Memon a verdict of guilty and the noose.

Let’s not pretend the encounter, real or fake, was about targeting a 20-year-old woman with a sweet face. It really was about the other three. This does not change the reality of the encounter, but it does provide a reason to view the event differently. And, no, the UPA had no business trying to hide the probability that the four who were killed may have been pursuing unholy ends.

Congress alleges BJP ‘cooked-up story’ on Ishrat Jahan case

Ishrat Jahan issue again surfaced in Lok Sabha on Friday with the Congress alleging “gross injustice” for being disallowed when the calling attention on the matter was taken up yesterday, a charge stoutly denied by government and the Speaker. “Gross injustice was done to the entire opposition parties” which were disallowed from participating in the discussion on Ishrat Jahan issue, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said amid protests from party members.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said for want of the opposition’s participation, the discussion was “biased” and saw “baseless” allegations against erstwhile UPA Government and its leadership and projected a “one-sided story”.”It was all a cooked-up story against the Congress and its leaders”, he said, adding that party leader Veerappa Moily had sought permission to seek clarifications from the Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which was denied. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy, however, dismissed the Congress charge. He said after a decision was taken in the business advisory committee that the issue would be taken up, it was for Congress members to give notice for participation, which was not done by them.Speaker Sumitra Mahajan observed whatever the Minister has said was “correct”. Responding to clarifications, the Home Minister had yesterday accused erstwhile UPA government of hatching a “deep conspiracy” to frame Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister. He had also alleged that the previous regime had done a ‘flip-flop’ on the links of Ishrat Jahan with terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. Without naming P Chidambaram, Singh had charged the then Home Minister with giving “colour” to terrorism by coining the term ‘saffron terror’.The Home Minister had insisted that the recent statement by Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley before a Mumbai court only reaffirmed the first affidavit filed by the UPA government on August 6, 2009 before the Gujarat High Court that Ishrat had links with LeT.

Ishrat Jahan case: Former Mumbai police commissioner says Cong called on him to help frame Modi

New Delhi: A former Mumbai police commissioner and BJP MP Satyapal Singh on Thursday said that as the SIT chairman he was allured by the then Congress-led UPA government to frame Narendra Modi in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan.

Ishrat Jahan. IBNLiveIshrat Jahan. IBNLive

Ishrat Jahan. IBNLive

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was then the chief minister of Gujarat.

“I got a call from one of the top Congress leaders, who said that home minister has selected you especially for a mission and that mission is to prove the entire case a lie and you have to reach up to Gujarat chief minister,” Singh, a parliamentarian from Baghpat (Uttar Pradesh) said.

Singh was speaking while participating in a discussion on the calling attention motion on alleged alteration of affidavit relating to Ishrat Jahan case.

“I was allured. I told this to then chief minister of Maharashtra and his secretary,” he said.

“I told them that I can’t do this work. My soul does not allow me to do so,” he said while clarifying why he left to continue as the chairman of the SIT.

“Neither Congress nor BJP can pressure me. I thought, whatever report I will submit, I will be targeted. So I made excuses of not knowing Gujrati and left,” he said, adding that “I even told the home minister that I can’t work under such circumstances.”

Singh also accused the then UPA government of pressurising the officers of CFSL for changing the report.

He also demanded a commission of enquiry to probe the matter thoroughly.

IANS

Ishrat Jahan case was UPA conspiracy to defame Narendra Modi, says Rajnath Singh

Accusing the erstwhile UPA government of hatching a “deep conspiracy” to frame former Chief Minister of Gujarat and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday alleged that the previous regime had done a ‘flip-flop’ on Ishrat Jahan’s links with terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Without naming P Chidambaram, he charged the then Home Minister with giving “colour” to terrorism by coining the term ‘saffron terror’.

Responding to a calling attention motion on “alleged alteration of affidavit relating to Ishrat Jahan case” in the Lok Sabha, the Home Minister said “unfortunately, I have to say this that there was a flip-flop by the UPA government in the Ishrat Jahan case.”

“Colour, creed and religion should not be associated with terrorism. Terror has no colour… The seculars gave colour to terrorism. Selective secularism cannot be accepted by the country,” he said.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. ReutersUnion Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

He said the recent statement made by Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley before a Mumbai court only reaffirmed the first affidavit filed by the UPA government on August 6, 2009 before the Gujarat High Court that Ishrat had links with LeT.

“It [Headley’s statement] was the second clear indication that she was a terrorist,” he said.

The Minister said the second affidavit filed by the Government before the High Court on September 29, 2009 “weakened” the fact that she was an LeT operative.

He said the effort seemed to be to “defame the then Gujarat Chief Minister (Narendra Modi), State Government, some leaders and those associated with the case. There was a deep conspiracy to frame them,” he said.

The Home Minister said a few key documents, including two letters written by the then Home Secretary (G K Pillai) to then Attorney General late GE Vahanvati, and the copy of the draft affidavit have so far been untraceable.

“We have ordered an internal enquiry in the Home Ministry in this regard and necessary action will be taken accordingly,” he said.

In his written response to the Calling Attention Motion, Mr. Singh said, “It has been mentioned in the affidavit that the further affidavit was being made in view of subsequent developments in relation to the issues connected with the petition and to clarify apprehensions expressed in regard to the [first] affidavit filed by Union of India as well as to refute attempts to misinterpret portions of the affidavit.”

He said the second affidavit stated that all intelligence inputs “do not constitute conclusive proof” and it is for the State Government and the State police to act on such inputs.

PTI

UPA ‘conspired’ to defame ex-Gujarat CM Narendra Modi in Ishrat case: Rajnath Singh

Accusing erstwhile UPA government of hatching a “deep conspiracy” to frame Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today alleged that the previous regime had done a ‘flip-flop’ on the links of Ishrat Jahan with terror outfit LeT.Without naming P Chidambaram, he charged the then Home Minister with giving “colour” to terrorism by coining the term ‘saffron terror’.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to a calling attention motion on “alleged alteration of affidavit relating to Ishrat Jahan case” in the Lok Sabha, the Home Minister said “unfortunately, I have to say this that there was a flip-flop by UPA government in the Ishrat Jahan case.”Amid protests and slogan shouting by Congress members who had trooped into the Well of the House, Singh charged Chidambaram of coining the term “saffron terror” and “Hindu terror”.”Colour, creed and religion should not be associated with terrorism. Terror has no colour… The seculars gave colour to terrorism. Selective secularism cannot be accepted by the country,” Singh said.He said the recent statement made by Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley before a Mumbai court only reaffirmed the first affidavit filed by the UPA government on August 6, 2009 before the Gujarat High Court that Ishrat had links with LeT.”It (Headley’s statement) was the second clear indication that she was a terrorist,” he said.The minister said the second affidavit filed by the government before the High Court on September 29, 2009 “weakened” the fact that she was an LeT operative.He said the effort seemed to be to “defame the then Gujarat Chief Minister (Narendra Modi), state government, some leaders and those associated with the case. There was a deep conspiracy to frame them,” he said.The Home Minister said a few key documents including two letters written by the then Home Secretary (G K Pillai) to then Attorney General late G E Vahanvati and the copy of the draft affidavit have so far been untracable.He said the missing documents include the copy of the affidavit vetted by the AG and the draft of the second affidavit vetted by the AG on which changes were made.”We have ordered an internal enquiry in the Home Ministry in this regard and necesary action will be taken accordingly,” he said. In his written response to the Calling Attention Motion, Singh said the notings on the concerned file do not provide any reason for filing of the second affidavit.”It has been mentioned in the affidavit that the further affidavit was being made in view of subsequent developments in relation to the issues connected with the petition and to clarify apprehensions expressed in regard to the (first) affidavit filed by Union of India as well as to refute attempts to misinterpret portions of the affidavit.” He said the second affidavit stated that all intelligence inputs “do not constitute conclusive proof” and it is for the state government and the state police to act on such inputs.”It was further submitted that the central government is in no way concerned with such action nor does it condone or endorse any unjustified or excessive action.”It was also mentioned that the main purpose of the first affidavit was to highlight the contradiction in the pleadings averred in the petition filed by Shamima Kausar (Ishrat’s mother) and the petition which had been filed by M R Gopinath Pillai (Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai’s father),” read the statement.Ishrat was killed in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004.The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides the Intelligence Bureau where it was said that 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 Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist, officials said.Former Union Home Secretary G K 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.Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter with Gujarat Police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.The city crime branch had then said those killed in the encounters were LeT terrorists and had landed in Gujarat to kill then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

dna Afternoon Must Reads: From Parliament uproar over Vijay Mallya, Ishrat Jehan to massive upset in All-England Championship

1. Parliament Live: Rajnath accuses previous govt of flip-flop over Ishrat Jehan caseHeated discussions continued in the Parliament on Thursday with the Vijay Mallya case as well as the Ishrat Jehan cases being discussed. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Cabinet approves Ujwala Yojna; Rs 8000-crore for LPG connections in rural IndiaUnder the scheme, the government will spend Rs 8000 crore to provide LPG connections to rural households, the government said. Read more here3. At least five killed, several hurt in shooting near Pittsburgh in USTwo gunmen ambushed a backyard party near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, killing at least five people and injuring several, media and police said. Read more here4. Android N now available for developers to experiment withGoogle on Wednesday let developers have an early look at the next version of Android in a move that could get the software into a wider variety of devices. Read more here5. Massive upset: India’s Sai Praneeth shocks Lee Chong Wei in first round of All-England ChampionshipsThree-time champion Lee Chong Wei was sensationally beaten by India’s B Sai Praneeth in the first round of the All-England Championships. Read more here6. Deepika Padukone spotted with tennis ace Novak Djokovic, foreign media fails to recognise her!Deepika was spotted with tennis ace Novak Djokovic coming out of The Nice Guy in LA. Read more here

Parliament Live: Previous government has destroyed IB, RAW, says BJP raising Ishrat Jahan storm in Lok Sabha

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The NGT on Tuesday questioned the Centre as to why no environmental clearance is needed for constructing temporary structures on Yamuna plains as building of pontoon bridge by army for cultural festival comes under the scanner of NGT. This was during a hearing on pleas seeking the cancellation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living three-day ‘World Culture Festival’ on the Yamuna flood plains to celebrate 35 years of the foundation.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar heard the matter in which the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Uttar Pradesh and Delhi government made their submissions with regard to grant of permission to the festival.

On 3 March, DDA had submitted that it had granted conditional permission for organising the event and had no idea about the magnitude of the programme. The event later drew criticism after some activists petitioned the NGT, a quasi-judicial body on environmental issues, asking it to stop the event as it would have a deep impact on the Yamuna flood plains.

The DDA backed its decision to grant permission for the festival, while the Art of Living said it has fulfilled all conditions and taken requisite permissions for the event.
“We’ll leave it as a beautiful bio-diversity park. As per my knowledge, not even a single tree has been cut down, we’ve only trimmed four trees. We want the Yamuna to be clean. We will not pollute the environment. We haven’t cut a single tree,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar reacting to the criticism over army men construction the pontoon bridge, reports DNA.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a file photo. AFPSri Sri Ravi Shankar in a file photo. AFP

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a file photo. AFP

Meanwhile, a source close to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told IANS said the Indian Army’s decision to make pontoon bridges for the upcoming event was taken after Delhi Police expressed a fear of stampede at the venue, where around 30 lakh people are expected.

The source also said the Art of Living Foundation may not be charged for the bridges as there is no policy in place for it.

The defence minister has, however, directed the defence secretary to formulate a policy for the army’s involvement in such events in future.

Earlier on Monday, President Pranab Mukherjee decided to pull out of a cultural extravaganza being organised by Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as a controversy raged over the event.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the event on Friday and the President was to attend the valedictory function on Sunday.

“The President cannot attend the function due to unavoidable circumstances,” an official of the Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Monday.

The NGT will resume its hearing on Wenesday on holding of the festival.

The AOL Foundation expects 35 lakh people to attend the function, concerns have been raised by experts about the likely damage to the environment that may be caused by holding it on the flood plains of the already polluted river in east Delhi.

The AOL foundation, which is organising the function, will have yoga and meditation sessions, peace prayers by Sanskrit scholars and traditional cultural performances from around the world.
The three-day event will be held from 11-13 March.
With inputs from agencies

Ishrat Jahan case: Arun Jaitley accuses Congress of ‘colluding’ with accused to ‘fix’ Narendra Modi

Amid new claims in Ishrat Jahan episode, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday accused Congress of “colluding” with the accused and “unbaring” national security apparatus in the case to “fix” Narendra Modi.He raked up the issue in Rajya Sabha while intervening in a debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address while he was responding to attack over the government over issues like “intolerance”. He said the controversy related to the Ishrat episode was not simply a case of changing the affidavit but the UPA government had changed the composition of SIT on a couple of occasions. “You (Congress-led UPA) colluded with the accused….You allowed them bail… and in the process, you unbared the entire security apparatus of India. All this was done because you wanted to fix a political leader… That was not intolerance, that was the law,” he said, addressing the Congress benches with apparent reference to Modi, who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley said in 2013, he had written an article saying, “Governments are not immortal, they change and I hope once this government changes, some day an inquiry will be held on how this compromise with national security was taking place. At that time, you thought no one can remove your government.” His attack on Congress came in the midst of new claims, including by former Home Secretary G K Pillai, that the affidavit in the case had been changed at “political level” to drop mention of Ishrat’s alleged links to terrorism.
ALSO READ From JNU row to black money issue: Here’s how Jaitley responded to opposition’s allegationsHitting out at critics, Jaitley said, “you talk about intolerance. During Delhi polls, news about attacks on religious places of a particular community were played up and an image was created the world over that it was political atrocity. “Was it a political conspiracy? When police investigated, they were found to be cases of theft or simple vandalism under the effect of liquor. But you used it during Delhi elections.”In West Bengal, a nun was assaulted and a Bangladeshi was arrested for it. This happened in a state (not ruled by BJP), but you gave it a political colour. “Today the debate on intolerance is who will be the chairman of an institution. I have read history and remember that when a singer did not sing in a Youth Congress programme, he was debarred from AIR,” he said.Underlining that unity of the country is “paramount”, the senior minister referred to the JNU incident and said, “if we have to keep this country together, then obviously we have to make sure that the space for those who speak in the break up of this country, itself, that space if not narrowed down, it should be completely eliminated.

From JNU row to black money issue: Here’s how Jaitley responded to opposition’s allegations

With key bills stuck in Parliament, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday reached out to opposition asking them to shed “disruptive” politics and sought their cooperation while countering Rahul Gandhi’s attack over issues related to JNU, intolerance, inflation and foreign policy.ICC World Twenty20 2016: Afghanistan vs Scotland, Group B 2nd T20 Match Live Cricket Scores & Ball by Ball commentaryOn JNUResponding to attack on JNU row, he said the government has nothing against a “particular student”, an apparent reference to student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, but asserted that free speech cannot be allowed to be used to advocate break-up of the country. “I expect mainstream political parties like Congress to be in the forefront of being against these people. Please don’t do anything that lends respectability to such people,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also talked about the present NPA crisis in banks, saying it was “not a big crisis but certainly a challenge” and questioned why the previous government did not take steps to avert the situation.On Pakistan policyIntervening in the debate on Motion of Thanks to President’s Address in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley rejected Rahul Gandhi’s charge that the government has “given away” the benefits of previous years on Pakistan, saying “We are compelling Pakistan for first time to own up that attack in India is taking place from their land.” To hit back, he attacked previous UPA government by raking up the ‘Sharm el-Sheikh’ episode, saying “you agreed to hold talks with Pakistan irrespective of whether terrorism stops or not.”In his 45-minute speech, Jaitley said, “This is the time when we don’t need obstructive democracy. Our approach will have to be to work together. This is the spirit with which this government needs to function.”Reacting to charges made by Rahul Gandhi on various issues, including the government not passing the benefit of reduction in crude oil prices to consumers, Jaitley took a dig at the Congress Vice President, saying the “most dangerous calculation is the one done at the back of an envelope”.On Oil prices He told the Congress benches in the Upper House, of which Rahul is not a member, that “somebody has convinced your leader (Rahul) to do all accounting on the back of an envelope”. Rahul is a member of Lok Sabha.Defending the decision of not passing the entire benefit of reducing oil prices to consumers, the Finance Minister said while a major part has been passed on to consumers, some has been given to loss-making oil companies and part invested in infrastructure-creation especially in rural areas. Pointing to the shrinking world economy due to the crisis, the Finance Minister said, “This is the period when we need cooperation of all political groups. We are in the midst of a situation where we are fighting a global economic slowdown. The global economy is shrinking. The new norm now is volatility and uncertainty. We need to create firewalls to protect our economy.”Answering to opposition’s criticism on a range of issues, he claimed that there is an overall improvement in security, price rise, foreign policy during this government and debunked the attack on the issue of intolerance.”You talk about intolerance. During Delhi polls, a news about attacks on religious places of a particular community was played up and an image was created the world over that it was political atrocity.”Was it a political conspiracy? When police investigated, they were found to be cases of theft or simple vandalism under the effect of liquor. But you used it during Delhi elections. “In West Bengal a nun was assaulted and a Bangladeshi was arrested for it. This happened in a state (not ruled by BJP), but you gave it a political colour.On intolerance “Today the debate on intolerance is who will be the chairman of an institution. I have read history and remember that when a singer did not sing in a Youth Congress programme, he was debarred from AIR,” he said. Jaitley also talked about the Ishrat Jahan case in an veiled manner to target Congress, accusing it of “unbaring” the national security apparatus as it wanted to “fix” a political leader (Narendra Modi).Asserting that it was not simply a case of changing the affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case, he said the UPA government changed the composition of SIT on a couple of occasions. “In the process, you unbared the entire security apparatus of India because you wanted to fix a political leader,” he said, adding that “some day an investigation will take place on how internal security was played with”. Jaitley said “We obviously belong to different ideological formulations and all of us have a right to believe that my own roadmap is the best to keep this country together.” Underlining that unity of the country is “paramount”, the senior minister referred to the JNU incident and said, “if we have to keep this country together, then obviously we have to make sure that the space for those who speak in the break up of this country, itself, that space if not narrowed down, it should be completely eliminated.”But in the name of freedom of thought, freedom of expression, I have no hesitation in saying that both my party and the government are absolutely clear that anybody who raises a voice against the sovereignty and integrity of India, we are certainly against them. We will discourage them and we will ask the law to take its own course. “I would urge members that rather than come out with subsequent explanations that we don’t agree with them, they should be one in denouncing such activities as we have seen,” he said.’Congress supporting fringes’ Jaitley said Congress has been a mainstream party and was personally very surprised to see it supporting a ‘fringe’. With regard to questions asked in London on JNU and Hyderabad University, he said “you can have people who have concern for some of the activities that happened there, but most people in this country, an overwhelming majority does not support the idea of eulogising those who in your state blasted the city of Mumbai in 1993.”To organise some event in support of those people who symbolised that destruction or for that matter throwing up the idea of breaking this country into pieces.” Insisting that “Nobody has anything against a particular student (Kanhaiya) who was arrested”, Jaitley said, “But then people have a right of free speech, but people don’t have a right of free speech to advocate the break up of this country.Therefore, where does the threat to unity and integrity and the country come.”I expect mainstream political parties like Congress to be in the forefront of being against these people. Please don’t do anything that lends respectability to such people,”he said. Jaitley said the high point of the debate is that issues of corruption and scams were not raised. “If members have to struggle to invvent an element of corruption it speaks volumes on how the environment in this country has changed.Rejecting opposition criticism for bringing Aadhaar legislation as money bill to avoid passage in Rajya Sabha where government does not enjoy a majority, Jaitley said, “If a bill is money bill it is for the Speaker to certify it.” Attacking the opposition, he said, “Indian democracy is not so fragile that every decision of the government becomes a threat to democracy.”On Rising NPAs On the rising bank NPAs, he said, “It is not a big crisis buit it is certainly a challenge”. He said the loans by public sector banks were not given during the Modi government’s tenure and wondered if there was any political interference while giving them. For rising NPAs, he also blamed sluggishness in the Steel industry and state power discoms which took loans to subsidise power and were now unable to pay back to the banks. Reacting to opposition criticism on blackmoney, he said, the new scheme announced by the government is to give an opportunity to people to declare their untaxed incomes and it was “not an amnesty scheme”.”If you have an income which has escaped tax, declare it, pay tax plus 50 per cent penalty. This is not an amnesty in which there is 50 per cent penalty,” he said. On black money issueHitting back at Congress, the Finance Minister said in 1997, it had brought a scheme under which there was no penalty and taxes were charged at rates prevalent 10 years ago. “When you make comments on steps we are taking, please honestly compare your own track record on that,” he said, adding that during the past such schemes have found that minor children and women had money invested in their names. On black money being brought from abroad, he said, “there is a procedure of making names (of those holding black money accounts in foreign banks) public. If we make it public, it will help the account holders.””Your advice (to make names public) is a bonafide advice, bt it will land the Government of India in a trap. All your cooperation treaties have a covenant that information is being provided on a condition and that condition is that it can be made public only if a case is registered against the account holder. “If you start using it for political purposes, then it will disentitle you to get more information. The best way of helping the accused is a breach of treaty. That is not an advise we are following. But we will stricly follow the procedure,” he said.He rubbished opposition criticism for Prime Minister being critical of MNREGA earlier, under which this government has made increased allocation in this budget, saying, “When PM said it was a living ‘monument of failure’ he wanted to say that evolving such a scheme after 60 years was a reflection of the things that enough was done done”.Talking about increasing prices of pulses, he said, “in a globally integrated economy global economy will impact your prices” and asked opposition to look at prices of so many commodities where prices have come down instead.

BJP dismisses Rahul Gandhi’s charge of ‘personal attacks’

BJP on Saturday scoffed at criticism that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made personal remarks against Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha, saying he only asked the Congress leader to let his reasoning and wisdom prevail as running the country was everyone’s responsibility.Gandhi had lashed out at Modi for resorting to “personal attacks” instead of answering questions on pressing issues he had asked and asserted that he will not been cowed down by it. Taking a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said that he should first answer why his party changed the affidavit in Ishrat Jahan case and also where the “beneficiaries” of spectrum and coal scams have hidden their black money.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Prime Minister did not make any personal attack. He only appealed to his (Rahul’s) reasoning and wisdom… running the country is the responsibility of everybody. That was his only appeal,” Javadekar said.On why the Prime Minister did not broach issues raised by Rahul Gandhi, he said the Congress leader should first answer the questions being raised over Ishrat Jahan case. “The entire country is asking the question to Rahul Gandhi which he has not answered. Firstly, why did his party change the affidavit in Ishrat Jahan case and the person who was a terrorist in the first month, how did she become innocent in the second month,” he said.Accusing Gandhi of tearing papers related to decisions taken by the Union Cabinet when his party was in power, Javadekar wondered why the Congress leader “did not tear papers related to spectrum and coal allocations”.”He (Rahul) tore apart many decisions of the Cabinet. Why did he not tear (decisions on) spectrum and coal allocation? He is asking about blackmoney. First he has to give information where the beneficiaries of the coal and spectrum scam have stashed away their money,” Javadekar said.

Ishrat Jahan case: No file came to me, says former Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde

Amid the row over Ishrat Jahan case, former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Friday said he had no knowledge of the issue as no file came to him. “I have no idea about this. The Ishrat Jahan case file never came to me,” Shinde said.”All claims, including those by the ex-NIA official, are baseless,” Shinde said, when asked about remarks of former NIA official Loknath Behera. “Nobody came to me and I did not speak to anybody about this case,” Shinde said. He was the home minister from July 2012 till May 2014 in the UPA-II government. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shinde’s comments came in the backdrop of allegations that the previous Congress-led UPA government tried to manipulate Headley’s testimony on Ishrat Jehan’s alleged terror links. Behera, an IPS officer of Kerala cadre, was part of the NIA team that travelled to the US in 2010 to question Headley. He has said that he “did not remember exactly what Headley had spoken about Ishrat”. But when he recently heard about his video deposition before the Mumbai court, he could recall “the same things” Headley had told to an NIA team in 2010. Ishrat (19), Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an alleged fake encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.Gujarat police had then claimed that the four, with links to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), had come to the city to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. While testifying recently before a Mumbai court in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, Headley had said that Ishrat was an LeT operative.

Ishrat Jahan case: Forensic report was authentic, SIT never communicated their views, says TD Dogra

Even as several theories concerning the Ishrat Jahan case are being propounded by different quarters, Dr. TD. Dogra, the author of forensic report in the matter, has held his ground that the report submitted by his panel was authentic, adding that the SIT never communicated their views on the same.”We had done our work to the best of our capacity and submitted the report to the chairman of the SIT. After that I have no knowledge, as it was never communicated back to us by the SIT or the SIT chairman and that’s why I don’t have any knowledge,” Dr. Dogra told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked about reports of rejection of his report by the SIT, Dr. Dogra said, “It is within the preview of the SIT to accept or reject a report, what I can say about that. But it’s true that a panel was formed by the SIT and I was the chairman of that panel, while the co-chairman was Dr. Rajinder Singh, director of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Delhi. We were given the task to reconstruct the scene and give answers to the certain questions put up by the SIT. Accordingly we worked on that.””Our team has experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and CFSL. We worked on that, gave up replies, reconstructed the scene and prepared a report, which was submitted to the then chairman of the SIT. We had done our work to best of our capacity and submitted the report to the SIT chairman,” he added.When asked whether the SIT had sought answers on fake encounter, he said: “There were questions like that and accordingly we answered too. Whatever queries had been raised, those were answered appropriately in our report submitted to the SIT. Further action was for the SIT to take. Whether the SIT rejected or accepted the report, I have no comment to offer.”Early on the morning of 15 June 2004, Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were shot dead on the road leading to the Kotarpur waterworks on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.A magisterial inquiry, SIT probe and CBI investigation all concluded that this was a fake encounter and the police claim of having fired at her in ‘self-defence’ was a lie.Almost a decade after the fake encounter, in July 2013, a chargesheet was filed against seven Gujarat police officials and (in a supplementary chargesheet in February 2014) four Intelligence Bureau officials for the unlawful killings, abduction, criminal conspiracy etc.

Ishrat Jahan case: Satish Verma to initiate legal action against persons mentioned in chargesheet

IPS officer Satish Verma who had probed the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case on Thursday said he would seek a copy of the second charge-sheet filed before the special CBI court in Ahmedabad so as to initiate legal action against the persons named in it. He was going to file an application through his lawyer Rahul Sharma for this in the special CBI court in Ahmedabad, he told PTI.The charge-sheet names four Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials including Rajender Kumar. The Centre has not yet sanctioned the prosecution of these four officers. Verma said he will seek copy of the charge-sheet to initiate further legal action so that the case moves on.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ishrat (19) who hailed from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in a fake encounter with police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.Gujarat police had then claimed that Ishrat and others had links with the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and had come to the city to kill the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.The controversial encounter is once again in news with former Home Secretary G K Pillai alleging that reference to Ishrat Jahan being an LeT operative was removed from the second affidavit filed by the Home Ministry, when P Chidambaram was the Home Minister.Verma, a 1986 batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer, is now the Chief Vigilance Officer in North Eastern Electric Power Corporation, Shillong. He was a member of the SIT set up by the Gujarat High Court to probe the encounter.After the SIT said it was a fake encounter, the HC handed over the case to CBI. Former under-secretary in the home ministry R V S Mani recently alleged that Verma, as a member of SIT, `tortured’ him to toe the CBI’s line.

SIT officer said Parliamentary attack, 26/11 were ‘orchestrated by govt in power’: RVS Mani

RVS Mani, a former Home Ministry official, who had filed two affidavits in Gujarat High Court in the Ishrat Jahan case, had claimed that member of the SIT on the killings had told him that 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and Parliament attack were “orchestrated by the Government in power”.Mani, who filed the affidavits as Under Secretary in the Home Ministry in 2009, had told the then Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna on June 21, 2013 about his deposition before the court-appointed SIT as he was posted in that Ministry at that time.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his statement to Krishna, Mani had said that during the course of recording of the statement in Gandhinagar in Gujarat, the IG of the SIT Satish Chandra Verma had asked him many questions which he was not privy to or which officially were never in his domain during the tenure in the Home Ministry.”He (Verma) started narrating as to how 13.12.2001 attack on Parliament of India and 26.11.2008 attacks are orchestrated by the government in power. He (Verma) stated that both these were the objective of strengthening the counter terrorist legislation. He narrated that December 13, 2001 was followed by POTA and November 26, 2008 was followed by amendment to UAPA wherein even Rs 10 in anybody’s pocket can be treated as proceeds of terrorism. I told him (Verma) that he is entitled to his view but such view is generally held as ISI’s view in the security establishment,” Mani wrote in his note to Krishna.Mani had claimed that Verma “coerced” him to sign some papers “knowing fully well that this would tantamount falsely indicting my seniors at the extant time”.”I declined to sign any statement. They have recorded some contents under the premise the Section 161 of CrPC does not require signature of the witness. In view of the above it is my request that, in future, I shall be willing to record the statements to CBI only in the presence of CVO or his authorised representatives of the Ministry as well as after contents have been duly vetted by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” Mani said.However, Verma denied the allegations against him. He said that most of the officers who are talking in the matter have retired which includes Mani and G K Pillai, former Home Secretary. And as far as allegations levelled by former Special Director of IB Rajinder Kumar are concerned, he is an accused.”So the officers who are talking can afford to state certain things which are not backed by facts. I am in service and I was assisted by the CBI in the investigations. I have been a part of the investigation everywhere, that I say, will be backed up by evidence,” he said.”There was no probe when he (Mani) said it first time and if two and a half years after somebody wants a probe — most welcome,” Verma said.What IPS officer Loknath Behera said todayMeanwhile, an IPS officer, who had earlier worked with the NIA, jumped into the fray and claimed that American-born terrorist David Headley had named Ishrat as LeT operative during his questioning in 2010.Loknath Behera, an IPS officer of Kerala cadre, whose central deputation was unceremoniously cut short, said that he “did not remember exactly what Headley had spoken about Ishrat”. But when he recently heard about his video deposition before the Mumbai court, he could recall “the same things” Headley had told to an NIA team in 2010.Headley, during his deposition before the Mumbai court, did not even remember the name of Ishrat and it was only when public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam prodded him with multiple choice answers that he could reply with deceased name.According to earlier testimony before the NIA, Headley had reportedly claimed that when he was being introduced to Lashker’s top brass, there was a sarcastic remark about Ishrat when he was taken to Muzamil, who was in charge of the Kashmir operations of the terror group.

Ex-officials boost BJP’s case: Now, the ghost of Ishrat Jahan chases Chidambaram, Congress

The Congress has long waged its legal and political battle against Narendra Modi through the medium of Ishrat Jahan’s ghost.

The recent revelations made by former home secretary GK Pillai, former undersecretary in the home ministry RVS Mani, and former joint director Rajendra Kumar on the deposition by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Headley suggest that the Congress’ strategy has now boomeranged on the party and in the days to come, her ghost will haunt them, particularly P Chidambaram — the most eloquent leader of the then UPA government — and Sonia Gandhi‘s political adviser Ahmed Patel.

The revelations made by senior home ministry officials on the Ishrat Jahan case are shocking, to say the least, unless one is predetermined to suggest that they are all lying or are working with some ulterior motives.

File image of Ishrat Jahan. IBNLive

File image of Ishrat Jahan. IBNLive

It gives a peep into the political machinations and the extent to which they were executed by the Congress-led UPA government. National security was of secondary concern. It seems what mattered most was realpolitik gains — target Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, who was posing a challenge to the Sonia GandhiRahul Gandhi regime. It took priority over everything else.

This couldn’t be done except by first portraying that Ishrat was an innocent aspiring Mumbra girl, who was killed in cold blood by the Gujarat Police on 15 June, 2004 along with Javed Ghulam Sheikh (born Pranesh Pillai), Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar (last two Pakistani nationals). It didn’t matter if the LeT website and its mouthpiece owned them as its martyrs.

The issue of two affidavits filed by the UPA government in less than two months — first on 6 August, 2009 and then on 30 September, 2009 — thus becomes important. While the first affidavit said Ishrat and her associates were terrorists, the second affidavit contradicted it by saying there was no conclusive evidence to prove that these persons killed in the alleged encounter were terrorists.

In this context, the statements made by Pillai, Kumar and Mani, and depositions made by Headley assume significance — implying that the CBI investigation was not done on merit, and was guided by the political considerations of the UPA government. This is something that has only been discussed privately among some intelligence and security officials so far. The BJP, of course, was publicly alleging a witch-hunt against Modi by the UPA government.

Take a look at what former National Security Adviser MK Narayanan who was adviser on internal security to the prime minister when the alleged fake encounter took place, wrote in The Hindu after Headley’s deposition in front of a designated Mumbai court. He admits that it was known to them that Ishrat was an LeT operative and a key figure in a carefully planned operation:

Headley’s deposition also provided some verisimilitude to rumours circulating at the time that the LeT was planning another attack post-26/11. Again, in reply to a leading question from the prosecutor, Headley also identified Ishrat Jahan as a terrorist belonging to the LeT (since her death in a police encounter in Gujarat in 2004, there had been many attempts to portray her as an innocent victim). Intelligence agencies, however, were aware that she was an LeT operative, and a key figure in a carefully planned LeT operation. The operational trail went from Pakistan to Dubai, Kochi, Kashmir and finally Ahmedabad. Headley provided neither names nor any details regarding this operation. His sole reason for identifying Ishrat as an LeT operative, it would seem, was to give a propaganda advantage to the LeT.”

In his interview to Times Now, Pillai repeatedly called it “a very successful intelligence operation” and a “planned operation”. This essentially means the Centre, those at the helm in the PMO and the home ministry knew of the this operation. His take on the CBI investigation and chargesheet was also though provoking: “Where I found fault with the office of the CBI is that during that period there were plenty of off-the-record briefings, almost daily. Officers in the CBI should have exercised extreme discretion. There were leaks definitely. They should have kept quiet. If I was the home secretary, I would have definitely have called the CBI director and said, ‘Look, this is totally not acceptable’. CBI has to carry out investigations professionally. Not daily off-the-record briefings.”

Pillai is considered to be a very competent officer — one of the finest home secretaries, who has not been afraid of letting his opinion on a subject be known. His statements thus need due attention. While talking to The Times of India, he said “Chidambaram, who was then the home minister, had asked for the file from the joint secretary, saying that the affidavit needed to be reworked. Only after the affidavit was revised, as directed by the minister, did the file come to me.” This is something that has been corroborated Mani, who signed both affidavits.

Correspondents covering the home ministry knew of Pillai’s position even when the second affidavit was filed in September 2009.

In an interview to Times Now, Mani said he was chased and hounded by the CBI, other government agencies and officials. “Satish Verma (head of the unit of SIT), What he has done to me is very unprecedented and he was actually, basically the SIT. If you see the progress of the SIT, apart from Verma, there was no other joint commissioner or IG-level officer who continued in it for more than six months, because this fellow would fight with them and drive them out. Verma was head of the unit of SIT and he was helped by two or three cronies, who were all engineering evidence. That’s what I can say… On 21 June, 2013, yes, Verma burnt me with his cigarettes”.

He then gave a detailed account of how a certain woman officer in the CBI chased him into a temple and how other CBI officers would land at his office in the urban development ministry, where he was posted later and several cases against him were opened up. Mani says in contrast to the first affidavit — when the due procedure of having it drafted and vetted at various levels in the home and law ministry was followed, the officials had no clue about drafting the second affidavit and why the mention of the word ‘terrorist’ was dropped.

In an internal note date 24 June, 2013, Mani had recounted how he was being coerced to sign on dotted lines.

Chidambaram and the Congress will have a lot to answer for in the days to come. The BJP has already demanded the reopening of the case and setting up of a judicial commission. No wonder the Congress party president has promptly backed Chidambaram. After all, what the BJP is now proposing is not to target the former home and finance minister.

The ruling party wants to see that the buck for political machinations stops at 10 Janpath’s doorstep.

Former SIT member probing Ishrat Jahan case denies pressure from P Chidambaram, says killing was ‘fake encounter’

A top police official, who was part of a court-appointed SIT to go into the killing of Ishrat Jahan, on Thursday maintained that it was a fake encounter and rejected allegations that pressure was brought on them by former Home Minister P Chidamabram in this regard. IPS officer and SIT member Satish Verma also denied an allegation by RVS Mani, who had filed affidavits in the Gujarat High Court in the case on behalf of the Union Home Ministry, that he had tortured him by burning him with cigarette butts. “National security cannot become a defence for the pre-medidated murder of a 19-year-old girl and be branded it as collateral damage,” he told India Today TV. He was replying to a query whether he stood by the probe conducted by the three-member SIT that the encounter was fake.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is very unfortunate that national security was being used as a phrase to condone the extreme illegalities of the most serious crime in the book. It cannot happen. These raise concerns…,” said Verma, who is now Chief Vigilance Officer at Shillong-based NEEPCO.He also disputed the description of Ishrat as a LeT terrorist and a suicide bomber saying she was away from her home and family for only about 10 days after she came into contact with a Pakistani terrorist Javed Sheikh. “You would know how much time you take to train a LeT terrorist and a suicide bomber…this time (that she was away from home) was not enough,” he said.The 1986-batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer also contradicted former Union Home Secretary G K Pillai’s claim of knowing the exact details of the case saying he was “no intelligence officer.”He said Mani’s affidavit filings were “curious” as they did not look like the Home Ministry’s version but that of the Gujarat police investigation.”Mr Mani had no direct knowledge of the case…,” he said adding that the allegations made by Mani against him were “old” and have been made by him earlier too.

Ishrat Jehan case: File notings reveal Chidambaram changed affidavit, Pillai looked other way

The second affidavit filed by the union home ministry in Ishrat Jehan case was solely amended by the then home minister P Chidambaram and union home secretary GK Pillai was privy to it but refrained from giving a dissent note, reveal file notings of the case file that is being re-examined at political level by the BJP government.The file notings reveal that Pillai sent the first affidavit to his boss on September 23, 2009 which was duly amended by Chidambaram and sent back to the home secretary on September 24 with noting – “as amended… Please show the clear copy before it is being sent to the court.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the same day, Pillai cleared the file for action. His noting said… “clear copy shown to the home minister and please take further action to have it filed.”Pillai also wrote… “send it to the law secretary and attorney general for information.”According to highly placed sources, the political arm of the government views it as a fit case to discredit the Congress-led UPA government and more so Chidambaram, for ‘playing politics with terror’ to tarnish the image of the then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi.”The first affidavit was based on credible intelligence inputs from Maharashtra police, Gujarat police, Intelligence Bureau and RAW that unequivocally opined that Ishrat Jehan and her three accomplices were part of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) module formed to launch an attack on Modi. It is clear now that Chidambaram played politics to file the second affidavit by removing intelligence inputs. If the case was related to fake encounter, why did he do this mischief?”said sources.Experienced mandarins of the home ministry view the case assuming political overtones to pin down each other.”Judicially speaking, changing affidavit does not matter much and Chidambaram cannot be hauled up by courts as it was within his right to change it. He himself has owned it up. But as he played fine politics then, the current government can also use to score brawny points over Congress by raising this controversy now,” said a source.The official, however, conceded that if the controversy starts, Pillai will also have some explaining to do as he was well in his right to put a dissent note on the file as it cleared his desk before landing on the then under secretary RVS Mani’s table, who finally put his signature on the affidavit.Sources in the political dispensation said that though both the PM and home minister Rajnath Singh are not keen to rake up the issue as of now, the BJP may use it to turn heat on Congress if it does not hold its horses and keeps attacking BJP government on every issue.

Second affidavit in Ishrat Jahan case fraudulent: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: In a sharp attack on P Chidambaram, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the second affidavit filed in the Gujarat High Court by the UPA government in the Ishrat Jahan case was “fraudulent”.

Saying the encounter in which Jahan and her other alleged LeT operatives were killed in Gujarat was “honest”, he asked if the Congress believed it was fake why did it then allow those officers involved in the actual shootout to get bail on the 90th day by not filing chargesheets and make them a witness.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. AFP

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. AFP

In an interview to Times Now, he said the first affidavit by the UPA government mentioning her terror links “was not ambiguous. It was as clear as day light. The second affidavit was fraudulent.”

Asked if the UPA government played around with the intelligence framework, the Minister said, “Obviously.”

Chidambaram had on Monday justified the filing of second affidavit as absolutely correct and as Minister owned up the decision.

Recalling his 2013 blog on the issue, he said he had raised questions about allowing CBI to investigate the Intelligence Bureau operations and compromising of national security.

“Obviously when the encounter took place, there were some officers who were physically present in the encounter. The CBI arrested all of them. It consciously did not file a chargesheet within 90 days. So those officers were let out on bail,” he said.

He claimed that those offers were then “asked to give statements under Section 164 against senior political leaders of the Gujarat government.”

Those officers, he said, were not even named in the chargesheet.

On Congress president Sonia Gandhi‘s statement that she stood by what Chidambaram said, Jaitley said the series of facts brought out by him “make out a perfect case of how a concoction” was taking place.

“This has been a tradition of this political party. After all didn’t they cook up the fake bank account against V P Singh when they saw a possible threat in him becoming a future Prime Minister,” he said.

Fake bank accounts in VP Singh’s sons’ name were opened in St Kitts but this time “they were trying to fabricate a case of murder in this manner. This is the extent which the Congress party can stoop.”

Asked if he wanted reopening of Ishrat Jahan files, Jaitley quoted from his 2013 blog where he had stated that governments are not immortals and they change.

“But officers who are indulging in this would one day have to answer many questions. I had further said that I hope one day a Commission of Inquiry is set up to go into the functioning of CBI in this. This I had written in 2013,” he said.

When pressed further if he wanted a Commission of Inquiry, he said he did not want to say anything more than what he had written in the blog.

Jaitley said it was unheard in criminal law that an accused becomes a witness against an alleged co-accused.

“So since they had no evidence, that’s the only one they could fabricate,” he said.

He claimed that a senior officer of the CBI, who was pushing for this prosecution during the period running up to the 2014 election, was rewarded with a position in the Disaster Management Department of Government.

“So now if you see the sum total of the facts, you change an affidavit, you censor a paragraph of the FBI, you bring in pressure on SIT — it had to be reconstituted three times.

“You have the Home Ministry interfering in a CBI investigation, you get the CBI to open out the covert operations of a security intelligence agency, the IB and then you have friendly bails being granted to certain people who were actually involved in the encounter in a quid-pro-quo that they should name political leaders, this is what was going on,” he said.

He said the sense of truth cannot indefinitely be hold back. “Officers with a conscience are speaking out and ultimately every word of what I had written in my Blog in 2013 each fact is now being corroborated.”

Questioning composition of Special Investigation Team (SIT) on the issue, he said the first officer appointed by the Central government was extremely independent but was transferred to the North East.

“They made it physically impossible for him to Chair the committee,” he said adding the second officer recused himself because he probably felt pressures.

“The third officer and contemporaneous evidence would be available as to how his arm twisting took place in order to get him agree to a fabricated report,” he said.

CBI, he said, does not come under the Home Ministry and is supposed to be independent.

“Was the Director (of CBI) being called repeatedly and asked to continue with a particular officer in the SIT who could not do a frame up and then you get a CBI inquiry or investigation into the functioning of IB. The covert operations of a security intelligence agency are made public and made bare,” he said.

PTI

First affidavit based on facts, don’t know about second one: RVS Mani

In a major revelation, former undersecretary for internal security at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) RVS Mani said on Wednesday that he had filed the first affidavit based on facts in the Ishrat Jahan case, adding that he does not know the cause of the second one being filed. “I filed the first affidavit, it was approved by the Home Ministry and then law secretary before it was filed. What was reason for the second affidavit, I don’t know. I signed the document because as per the conduct rule three, when an order is received on the file, I have to execute it because before an order is issued by a competent authority or a senior officer, I can put my view points,” Mani said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mani said after a decision is taken, it has to be executed and so he was authorized to sign the affidavit. “The Intelligence input conclusion is after the event occurs. I am absolutely neutral person, I have no agenda. The IB is working very hard, there is no margin of error. The home secretary is a very upright officer. Pillai is an excellent officer and a man of very high integrity. So, I have no reason to disbelieve what he has said,” he added.Putting Congress in a spot, Mani pointed out that in the first affidavit he had given every detail of Ishrat Jahan and none of the facts were denied. “He (P. Chidambaram) has only said that IB inputs are not conclusive. If they were not conclusive, he should have said. We have something else to the contrary,” he said.Mani also alleged of harassment by ex-SIT chief Satish Verma, adding that it is for Verma to answer whether he was working on someone’s direction. “Cigarette butts were put on my thighs and so many things happened. The interrogation started at around 9 a.m., then Satish Verma joined the interrogation at 10:30 a.m., went up to 2:30-3 p.m. in polite manner. After that he (Satish Verma) started narrating nonsense. He became physical after 4.00 pm. I informed the seniors. I have already put an affidavit in the Supreme Court,” he said.Mani further alleged that Verma forced him to take the name of former IB Special Director Rajendra Kumar in bringing the affidavit. “I said that is not the truth, I am competent. I don’t require an IB Officer to walk in and say sign the affidavit. I did not give in to his (Satish Verma) pressures. At 5 p.m., I said this is not right, my wife will go to Chief Justice’s house and we have contacts there,” Mani added.The former undersecretary for internal security also said that his phone was snatched and he was threatened to taken into custody. “Pillai was not the home secretary. By then, the tenure had changed. RK Singh had come. The procedure is I had to report to the office where I am working. They will forward it to the concerned ministry. In this case, at that time, I was posted in Ministry of Urban Development. I recorded all these things. I put it up to my seniors. I believe that they must have forwarded it to the minister of home affairs,” he said.Mani also said that he expected the government to protect his interest. “I have seen the file, I will use the word cross fire not encounter. If inquiry into cross fire or encounter was the only mandate of the SIT, why was I called for the investigation. I was not posted in 2004 in MHA, I came in 2005 or so. Legal Attache in the US embassy Daniel had also written saying that it (Ishrat being a terrorist) is true” he said.In a startling revelation, Mani said earlier that he was coerced to file the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case. The second affidavit is the one in which the references to the alleged links of Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were removed. Mani’s shocking claims come just a few days after former home secretary GK Pillai revealed that someone at the political level did not want the real picture to come out in the Ishrat Jahan case. Pillai had mentioned that two affidavits submitted by the home ministry in relation to the case were contradictory to each other. The former home secretary had said there was no doubt that those killed in the alleged fake encounter in Gujarat had links with Lashkar-e-Taiba. Ishrat Jahan was one among four people killed in an alleged fake encounter case in 2004. Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai besides two Pakistani nationals Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar Abdul Ghani, all alleged LeT terrorists, were also killed in the encounter.

Ishrat Jahan case: Sonia Gandhi defends P Chidambaram

Amid the furore over former undersecretary RVS Mani’s revelations in the Ishrat Jahan case, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday told her party MPs that former home minister P Chidambaram has already explained his position, adding that the grand old party has been targeted since it has been in the government.”Chidambaramji has already explained. We have been targeted since we were in government,” Gandhi said at a Congress’ strategy meeting here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a revelation that has the potential to spark a fresh political row and disrupt the functioning of the Parliament, Mani yesterday claimed that he did not draft the second affidavit and had been ordered to sign the file in the Ishrat Jahan case. His claims came days after former home secretary GK Pillai alleged that Chidambaram bypassed him and rewrote the second affidavit submitted to a court in this connection.Last week, Pillai had said that the affidavit in Ishrat case was changed at the political level. Chidambaram earlier on Monday said the revised affidavit was absolutely correct, adding he accepts full responsibility for the affidavit as a minister.Citing intelligence reports, Chidambaram had as the home minister submitted an affidavit in the Gujarat High Court in August 2009, which referred to Ishrat’s alleged links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). However, a revised affidavit was filed within a month in which all references to Ishrat’s alleged terror links were missing.

Supreme Court agrees to hear contempt plea against P Chidambaram in Ishrat case

The Supreme court on Tuesday agreed to hear a plea seeking suo motu contempt action against former home P Chidambaram for perjury and misleading the apex court and the Gujarat High Court on the alleged LeT links of Ishrat Jehan and also seeking quashing of criminal prosecution, suspension and other actions taken against Gujarat cops in the 2004 alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat in view of the recent testimony of jailed LeT operative David Headley. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The plea has also sought contempt against the then Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director for misleading and holding back information about Ishrat being a Laskhar-e-Taiba operative.The plea assumes significant in the light of former home secretary G K Pillai’s statement against Chidambaram recently in the case.Petitioner M L Sharma, a practicing advocate, mentioned the matter for its urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur which agreed to hear the matter.Last month, the Pakistani-American terrorist Headley, who had conspired with the LeT in plotting the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, had told a trial court that Ishrat was a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative.Referring to Headley’s statement, which was recorded through video conference, Sharma said Headley’s statement is significant as it conclusively establishes the fact that Ishrat was an LeT operative.He sought initiation of perjury and contempt proceedings against the then Home Minister Chidambaram and also the then CBI director for concealment of facts.Sharma has said that the CBI too had concealed this fact in the Supreme Court in its affidavit. CBI filed a charge sheet and supplementary charge sheet declaring Ishrat as innocent Muslim student and prosecuted various police officers.Raising a question of law, Sharma, asked if the protection of life and personal liberty that is guaranteed under constitution’s article 21 to Indian citizens was also available to the LeT members. He also asked if the killing of a terrorist in any manner was an offence under the penal code and police personnel involved are liable to be punished.Sharma said the facts are now undisputed that Ishrat and her associates- Javed Shaikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were terrorists who were killed by Gujarat Police in the encounter.The plea sought a direction to close criminal proceedings and action taken in FIRs lodged by CBI against the Gujarat Police personnel and others, saying it was unconstitutional within the judicial facts and evidences of Headley.It also sought a direction from the court declaring that killing of a terrorist is not an offence under Indian law and proper compensation be paid to the state police personnel in the interest of justice.

Ishrat Jahan case: I didn’t draft second affidavit in Ishrat case, was ordered to sign it, says Ex-MHA officer

In a revelation that has the potential to spark a fresh political row and disrupt the Parliament functioning, former under secretary for internal security at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) R.V.S. Mani on Tuesday claimed that he did not draft the second affidavit and had been ordered to sign the file in the Ishrat Jahan case.”I did not draft the second affidavit, I was ordered to sign file, so I did it. If I am ordered to do something, I have to go and do it. I cannot refuse. I cannot say what the need for the affidavit was? You will have to ask people who ordered it,” Mani told a private news channel. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>His claims came days after former home secretary G.K. Pillai alleged that former home minister P. Chidambaram ‘bypassed him’ and ‘rewrote’ the second affidavit submitted to a court in this connection.” I believe in Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) inputs, and there is no reason for not believing in IB inputs. The CBI, however, said IB input is not believable. I refused to back what the CBI said,” he said. He alleged that the SIT Chief was engineering evidence.Stating that so many officers and people chased him, Mani claimed that in June 2013, he was burnt with cigarettes. Last week, Pillai had said the Ishrat affidavit was ‘changed at the political level’. Chidambaram said on Monday said the revised affidavit was ‘absolutely correct’ and ‘as a minister he accepts full responsibility for the affidavit’. Hitting back at Pillai, Chidambaram it was disappointing that the former home secretary who was equally responsible wanted to distance himself from that.Citing intelligence reports, Chidambaram as home minister had submitted an affidavit in the Gujarat High Court in August 2009, which referred to Ishrat’s alleged links with Lashkar-e-Taiba. However, a revised affidavit was filed within a month, in which all references to Ishrat’s alleged terror links were missing.Early on the morning of 15 June 2004, Ishrat Jahan (19), Javed Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were shot dead on the road leading to the Kotarpur waterworks on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Police claimed that she was part of a plot to assassinate the then chief minister Narendra Modi.

Ishrat Jahan case: CBI director mum on Headley’s revelation

CBI Director Anil Sinha on Tuesday refused to be drawn into the issue of American-Pakistani terrorist David Headley’s recent testimony in 26/11 case that Ishrat Jahan was an LeT terrorist, saying the matter is subjudice.He noted that the agency has already submitted the chargesheet in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan.”The matter is sub-judice. We have already submitted charge sheet in the case. Hence I would not like to comment anything on this,” Sinha, who was in Mumbai for inauguration of the new CBI office in Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), said. He was asked by media persons if the revelation made by Headley before a special court here last month that Ishrat Jahan was an operative of banned terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) would have any impact on the case.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Headley revealed this while deposing before a special court here, which is conducting trial against alleged LeT operative Abu Jundal in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case. Headley told the court that LeT leader Zaki-ur-Rehman had told him about Muzammil Butt’s botched up operation in India. “It was some shootout with the police. I don’t know which part in India. But there was one female who was killed in the shootout,” Headley said.Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam then said, “If I give you three names will you be able to point out who was the female who was killed?”. To this Headley replied yes.
ALSO READ David Headley’s testimony stokes controversyNikam then said, “Was it Noorjahan Begum, Ishrat Jahan or Mumtaz.” Headley then said, “I think it is the second one.” Headley had added that Ishrat was an Indian national. Ishrat, 19, was killed along with Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai from Kerala, and two alleged Pakistanis Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana on June 15, 2004 on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.The encounter team was led by D G Vanzara, who was then Deputy Commissioner of Police in Ahmedabad Crime Branch. The CBI, which was handed over the probe later, filed a chargesheet in 2013 against seven police officers and observed that it was a fake encounter. Currently, all the seven officers are out on bail.

Ishrat Jahan case: SC to hear plea to quash case against Gujarat police

In view of the statement made by 26/11 conspirator David Coleman Headley on Ishrat Jahan, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a plea seeking to quash the criminal case against the Gujarat policemen who were involved in the case.In his deposition last month, Headley had claimed that Mumbra resident Ishrat Jahan was a suicide bomber for Pakistan-based terror outfit Laskhar-e-Taiba.”The operation was about shooting the police at some naka. One woman LeT named Ishrat Jahan was involved. Muzammil Bhatt was the head of our group before Sajid Mir,” he told the court via video conferencing.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In June 2004, Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were shot dead by the Gujarat police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.The police had alleged that Ishrat and her associates were LeT operatives involved in a plot to assassinate the Narendra Modi who was the chief minister of Gujarat.After a long investigation, in 2009, an Ahmedabad Metropolitan court ruled that the encounter was staged.Earlier, Former Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said it was a matter of investigation whether Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist or not, but added that her name was mentioned in the martyr’s list of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).Speaking exclusively to ANI, Pillai said it was a matter of investigation whether Ishrat was involved or an unwitting player.”There was no direct evidence, except that LeT did put her name on the website and later on withdrew it, so I said maybe she was unwitting player.”However, taking responsibility for the second affidavit, former finance minister P. Chidambaram said that it was disappointing that Pillai is distancing himself from it.”Which part of the second affidavit is wrong? I accept the responsibility for this affidavit. It is disappointing that the Home Secretary, who is equally responsible, wants to distance himself from that,” Chidambaram told the media here.

Ishrat Jahan Case: Chidambaram disappointed with Pillai for distancing himself from second affidavit

Taking responsibility for the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case, former finance minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said that it was disappointing that the then home secretary G.K. Pillai is distancing himself from it.”Which part of the second affidavit is wrong? I accept the responsibility for this affidavit. It is disappointing that the Home Secretary, who is equally responsible, wants to distance himself from that,? Chidambaram told the media here. “It was brought to my notice that the first affidavit was filed without my approval and it was being misinterpreted. It was my duty to correct the first affidavit. So we filed a supplementary affidavit after consulting the Home Secretary, the Director of Intelligence Bureau and other officers,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chidambaram further stated that the Central Government in the said affidavit did not address any issue relating to the merits or otherwise in the police action. “It was essentially concerned with dealing with the allegations relating to the intelligence inputs which were available with the central government and that was shared on a regular basis with the state government,” he said. Pillai served under then home minister P. Chidambaram in 2009 when the government filed two affidavits in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.Chidambaram had earlier told a leading English daily that he felt it was possible to hold an ‘honest opinion’ in the Afzal Guru case and that the case was ‘perhaps not correctly decided’ and that there were ‘grave doubts about the extent of his involvement’ in the 2001 Parliament attack. Ishrat Jahan, who was a resident of Mumbra near Mumbai, was shot dead along with three men on June 15, 2004, by the Gujarat Police in an encounter.

BJP hits back at Chidambaram over polarisation remark

BJP on Monday hit out at Congress leader P Chidambaram for his remark that 2015 was the worst year in terms of polarisation after 1992, saying his comments have “encouraged” anti-national forces and were aimed at vote bank politics.”Chidambaram’s comments amount to putting in dock his own government. It is height of vote bank politics. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi should apologise for such statements and also the decision of Rahul Gandhi to go to the JNU to support anti-national forces,” BJP National Secretary Shirkant Sharma said in a statement. He attacked Chidambaram, a former home and finance minister, for his reported comment that 2015 was the worst year in terms of polarising the country after 1992, when the Babri mosque was demolished.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharma said there was no communal polarisation in the country and, if there was a polarisation, he alleged, it was between the national forces and those supporting anti-national people. He also referred to former home secretary G K Pillai’s statement that the controversial change in the Ishrat Jahan case affidavit was done at the “political level” to flay the Congress leader.
ALSO READ JNU row: Why P Chidambaram’s ‘polarisation’ comments against Modi govt reek of hypocrisy “It is clear now that the case was being used by Congress to falsely target Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Chidambaram is now making these comments as a cover up exercise,” he said, adding that it showed Congress can stoop to any level to satisfy its lust for power.

Congress launches counter attack against GK Pillai after Ishrat ‘revelation’

Congress on Friday sought to take the sting out of former Home Secretary G K Pillai’s remarks on the affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case wondering whether it was a fact that Pillai serves on the Board of a Gautam Adani company.”Is it true that former Home Secretary H’onble G.K.Pillai serves on the Board of Gautam Adani-led Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones Ltd?”, party spokesman Manish Tewari said on microblogging site Twitter. At the AICC briefing, party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said in case of Ishrat Jahan encounter case, the District Judge of Ahmedabad who investigated the encounter found it to be fake. The Government of Gujarat went in appeal against that order.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In a court-monitored CBI investigation, same findings were upheld. Once those findings are upheld not by one but two judicial authorities, then we would only refer to those and not enter into any speculation based on individual wisdom of a particular person.”, he added. Pillai told a news channel that the affidavit submitted to Gujarat High Court in 2009 about LeT links of Ishrat Jahan and her accomplices, who were killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2004, was changed at the “political level”. P Chidambaram was the Home Minister that time.On the controversy over Chidambaram’s statement on Afzal Guru case, Surjewala said he has spoken to Chidambaram and also heard the tape of the interview… “Very categorically, he has said that as Home Minister in then Government of the Day, of the Congress Party, pursued the case of Afzal Guru as a perpetrator of a most heinous crime and saw to it that ends of justice are fructified up to the Supreme Court. We demanded, we pursued, we advocated for harshest punishment which was given to Afzal Guru,” he said.

UPA’s misuse of CBI in Ishrat case has damaged its credibility: Arun Jaitley

Accusing the former Congress-led UPA government of ‘misusing’ the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Ishrat Jahan case, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said this has besides seriously damaging the credibility of the investigating agency also lowered the level of professionalism in the organisation.Arun Jaitley on Facebook reshared a blog he had written in 2013. Ishrat Jahan case is back in the limelight after David Headley said that she was a LeT operative and former Union Home Secretary GK Pillai said that affidavit in the case was changed under political pressure. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is what Jaitley shared: I had, on June 4 2013, made a detailed comment inviting attention ‘Should CBI uncover the IB’. India’s internal security is challenged by several cross-border and local modules. From Jihadi terror to Maoist insurgency we find a continuous challenge being faced by the Indian State. Intelligence and counter-insurgency are one of the most effective responses to deal with this challenge. These operations include the collection and dissemination of information, intercepts, intrusion into insurgency modules, financial temptations given to informers and busting of such modules. Our intelligence agencies have to carry out these operations in utmost secrecy. Covert operations are undertaken but never admitted. A large number of these operations are without the backing of statutory law, since intelligence agencies in India function only on the basis of internal procedures of the government. This is on account of larger public and national interest. Hopefully, as we mature as a democracy, these operations could be brought under the framework of law and then subjected to an element of limited Parliamentary scrutiny.The intelligence agencies get information with regard to the proposed activity of terrorist module of which Ishrat Jehan was a part. This information is processed and disseminated. The module is busted and its operations are foiled. The fact that Ishrat was a part of Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba (LET) is evidenced by Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) claiming through its Lahore based Ghazwa Times that its activist has been killed. Subsequently, David Headley in his interrogation by both the FBI and NIA admits to this operation. The Legal Attaché of the US Embassy in India has issued a document to the Intelligence Bureau in response to its queries further evidencing this fact.When the alleged encounter of Ishrat Jehan and her associates took place, the UPA-I was already in power. In a public interest litigation filed in the Gujarat High Court by her parents, the Union government took a categorical stand that Ishrat was a LeT operative and the alleged encounter of June 15, 2004 was genuine. This was when Shri Shivraj Patil was the Home Minister. The change in the Home Ministry led a change in Government’s stand. Under Shri P. Chidambaram as the new Home Minister, the Home Ministry in its affidavit decides to wash its hands off from the encounter. It now starts cooperating with the petitioner for probing the entire operation. The political establishment had hoped that its other attempts having failed, probing this could be a case for implication of the political leaders of the Gujarat government.After being investigated by an SIT set up by the Court the case is referred to the CBI for investigation. Among the officers associating with the investigation was a person who was selected by Ishrat’s parents who were petitioners. The SIT comprised of three persons, one of whom was the petitioner’s Nominee. A large number of policemen, named in the FIR, belonging to the Gujarat Police are arrested. Negotiations are held with them and a political bargain is struck. Chargesheet is not filed against them within 90 days; and they are given a benefit of default bail. Those who decided to turn witnesses are promised that they would be left out of the chargesheet even though some of them are present when the actual killing took place. Their own statements implicate them and yet they are neither accused nor approvers, they are mere witnesses. Their names were excluded from the first and second chargesheets as accused. This is a procedure unknown to law. Statements given by these persons are recorded under section 164 CrPC not in Ahmedabad but in a court in Mumbai. An accused cannot be a witness against a co-accused. He can only be an approver. Those present in the actual shootout are excluded from the list of the accused so that they can implicate others who were not even present in the shootout.A feeble attempt is made to implicate the political leaders of Gujarat. A theory of white beard and black beard is concocted. But that is not evidence enough. The ire now turns towards the IB. Those who were responsible for evidence collection, busting the module, interrogation of the accused are all sought to be implicated. The terrorist credentials of the victims are sought to be retrospectively wiped out. Two charge sheets have now been presented to the court.The alleged encounter took place when UPA-I was in power. Admittedly there is no evidence against the political leaders of Gujarat. The covert operations of the central Intelligence Bureau have been made the subject matter of a criminal law investigation. The source of information of the IB, the veracity of that information, the dissemination of that information, the manner of busting the module, the interrogation of the victims, the organization of logistical support in busting the module will all be a subject matter of criminal law trial. The ultimate wise man who was the Home Minister in 2009 undertook the operation with the idea of implicating Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. He has ended up implicating the IB, an agency of the UPA Government which during the tenure of the UPA is being accused of having engineered the fake encounter. The nature of the encounter would be adjudicated by the competent court. However, the damage done to India’s intelligence agencies and its ability to undertake covert operations is irreparable. In my Article of 4th June, 2013 I had written “Only Pakistan and LeT would have the last laugh. The myopic political regime in Delhi has not realized the significance of destroying the institutions. Harass the Gujarat Government even if it means destroying India’s security apparatus -The objective of the Congress Party is clear.”

Uproar in Lok Sabha over remarks on Ishrat Jahan by Chidambaram, GK Pillai

The remarks of former Home Minister P Chidambaram on Afzal Guru and ex-Home Secretary GK Pillai on Ishrat Jahan on Friday found their echo in Lok Sabha with a BJP member claiming that the erstwhile UPA government had tried to settle scores with its political rival Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat.Just before the House began discussing the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, Anurag Thakur referred to reports quoting Chidambaram as saying that Afzal Guru’s case “was perhaps not correctly decided” and Pillai as saying that the affidavit submitted to Gujarat High Court in 2009 about LeT links of Ishrat Jahan and her accomplices, who were killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2004, was changed at the “political level”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It was an attempt to fix Modi…it was a conspiracy to put in dock political rivals by the previous (UPA) government,” he said. “Who changed the affidavit (in the Ishrat Jahan case), the nation wants to know,” Thakur said.Members of Congress and the CPI(M) objected to the Chair for “selectively” allowing some members to speak. Soon after the Question Hour, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the Speaker has not expunged the “derogatory” remarks against party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul made by Thakur from House proceedings. On the contrary, words used by party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia have been expunged, he said.Kharge said while it was Speaker’s prerogative to expunge remarks and statements, words used against the Gandhis should be removed from records as it would set a precedent where people will decide on “who is nationalist or anti-national.” He was supported by members of the NCP and Left parties. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said while Kharge was free to air his stand, since he has named Thakur, he too should be given a chance to speak. When Thakur referred to Chidambaram and Pillai, some opposition members objected, to which the BJP said he has already given notice in this regard.Chidambaram has been quoted in an interview as saying that he felt it was possible to hold an “honest opinion” that the Afzal Guru case was “perhaps not correctly decided” and there were “grave doubts about the extent of his involvement” in the Parliament attack. Guru was hanged on February 9, 2013.Reports quoting Pillai had said that two affidavits submitted by the Home Ministry on the Ishrat Jahan case were contradictory to each other. Pillai was the Home Secretary and Chidambaram the Home Minister when the affidavits were filed in 2009.