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Second, short affidavit was to ‘dispel misinterpretation’, Chidambaram says on Ishrat Jahan controversy

Senior Congress leader and former home minister P Chidambaram today reiterated that he did not sign the first affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, claiming that the controversy over the affidavits was “only to divert attention from the real
India TV Politics Desk April 25, 2016 13:33 IST
India TV Politics Desk

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former home minister P Chidambaram today reiterated that he did not sign the first affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, claiming that the controversy over the affidavits was “only to divert attention from the real issue in the Ishrat Jahan case”.

“Real issue is whether there was fake encounter & whether four people already in custody were killed in that fake encounter,” read one among a series of tweets the senior Congress leader posted this morning citing his comments in an interview to a newspaper.

“Coming to the affidavits, the Home Minister does not sign affidavits. It is signed by an Under Secretary. Although I have no recollection of seeing the first affidavit, let us presume that I did. Then came the report of Magistrate SP Tamang,” it further reads.

Clarifying why the second affidavit was filed, he tweeted, “This report caused an uproar & there was demand mainly from Gujarat that Government of India should clarify or dispel misinterpretation being placed on the first affidavit.”

“This is why a Second, short affidavit was filed!” he added.

Meanwhile, MoS for Home, Kiren Rijiju rubbished Chidambaram’s allegation saying, “Somebody creates a situation which amounts to compromising national security. It is not an issue which can be termed as diversionary. It is too serious and former home minister should not make such statements.”

The controversy over the killing of Ishrat Jahan in an encounter in June 2004 came back to the spotlight after revelations that Chidambaram, who was then Home minister, had changed the original affidavit describing her as a member of LeT.

Chidambaram has maintained that the first affidavit was filed without his permission or knowledge. However, the file, accessed by a leading news channel, showed that Chidambaram approved the original affidavit as well as the second one, which was amended within two months. While the first affidavit had said Ishrat Jahan was a LeT operative and there was a terror plot to kill Modi, the second affidavit did not note both points.

Ishrat and three others were killed by the Gujarat police in June 2004 in an encounter near Ahmedabad. It was said that the group was plotting to kill the then Gujarat CM and now PM Narendra Modi.

It is worth mentioning here that in July 2004, LeT had published an article claiming Ishrat as its operative but the then Congress-led UPA government termed the incident as a fake encounter and not as a conspiracy to kill Modi. Three years later, in 2007, LeT issued a clarification in that it was wrong in naming Ishrat as its activist in India. It was against this background that Chidambaram changed the affidavit.

Most recently, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley deposing before a special court in Mumbai had also said that Ishrat was an operative of LeT.