Accusing the UPA of changing its stand in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case in a bid to implicate Narendra Modi, BJP on Friday said it has caused “irreparable damage” to the country’s intelligence agencies and their ability to undertake covert operations against terror.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, however, favoured bringing such covert operations under the framework of law and subjecting them to limited Parliamentary scrutiny.
Training his guns on the then Home Minister P Chidambaram for attempting to implicate political leaders of Gujarat by changing the Centre’s stand, he said the operation has ended up implicating the IB for having engineered a fake encounter.
“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 damage done to India’s intelligence agencies and their ability to undertake covert operations is irreparable,” he said.
“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,”Jaitley said.
The BJP leader said when the alleged encounter of Ishrat Jahan took place, UPA-I was in power and it took a stand that she was an LeT operative and the alleged encounter of June 15, 2004 was genuine, but later changed its stand after Chidamabaram replaced Shivraj Patil as 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,” he said.
The BJP leader said after being investigated by an SIT set up by court, the case was referred to CBI for investigation. He alleged that negotiations were held with them and a political bargain was struck.
“Those who decided to turn witnesses are promised that they would be left out of the charge sheet even though some of them were 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 charge sheets as accused.
This is a procedure unknown to law,” he alleged.
Jaitley said even after statements are recorded under section 164 CrPC in a Mumbai court, an accused cannot be a witness against a co-accused but can only be an approver.
“A feeble attempt is made to implicate the political leaders of Gujarat. A theory of white bear and black bear 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,” he said.
Jaitley noted that the covert operations of the central Intelligence Bureau have been made the subject matter of a criminal law investigation and now the source of information of IB, veracity of that information, dissemination of that information, manner of busting the module, interrogation of victims, organisation of logistical support in busting the module will all be a matter of criminal law trial.