GK Pillai claims intel mole lured Ishrat group to Gujarat, UPA faces heat

He also said that the then UPA government’s decision to revise its affidavit on the encounter case to state that there was no clinching proof of Ishrat’s LeT link was taken at the “political level”.

Written by Praveen Swami | New Delhi | Updated: March 8, 2016 3:37 pm
ishrat jahan, ishrat jahan encounter, ishrat jahan LeT operative, ishrat jahna fake encounter, david headey on ishrat jahan, congress president, Sonia gandhi, congress vice president Sonia gandhi on Ishrat jahan Ishrat Jahan was killed in an encounter in 2004. (file photo)

Former Union Home Secretary G K Pillai’s admission that the June 2004 killing of Ishrat Jahan and three other alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists in Gujarat, under the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was the result of an intelligence entrapment operation could lead to the questioning of key figures in the UPA’s security establishment, an authoritative intelligence source familiar with the case has told The Indian Express.

“If Pillai is correct in saying that the alleged terrorists were lured to India by the Intelligence Bureau,” the official said, “then it stands to reason that those involved in this operation would have more than passing knowledge of the circumstances of their death.”

Watch Video | Ishrat Jahan Fake Encounter Case: All You Need To Know

Then Intelligence Bureau chief K P Singh and former Deputy National Security Advisor Nehchal Sandhu, then joint director in charge of counter-terrorism operations, both had a direct role in the operation, the source said. Former West Bengal governor M K Narayanan, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s advisor on internal security, was also briefed on the course of the operation.

The three men did not respond to messages from The Indian Express seeking comment. Pillai too was not available for comment.

But in an interview to Times Now Friday, Pillai said: “It was a very successful intelligence operation… we managed to entice the LeT to send their shooters to India and were able to monitor their activities in India and to, in one sense, catch them… It was a very planned operation… something intelligence agencies around the world do.”

“Yes, it was a trap and it was a very successful operation… you are using the sources of LeT, people who think they are LeT, to be able to pass on information… It is always better to know when you enemy is coming in rather than wait for collateral intelligence where someone plans something without your knowledge.”

Asked about the role of Ishrat, Pillai said: “I would say that she knew something was wrong… an unmarried Muslim girl would not go with a married person to different places etc, spend nights outside so far and so forth… perhaps she knew something was happening… she could have been a cover.”

New Delhi has long distanced itself from the killing of the four, admitting it passed on intelligence on the plot, but had no knowledge of subsequent actions by the Gujarat Police. In 2009, Home Minister P Chidambaram said “no one suggested that based on an intelligence input you should kill someone”.

Pillai’s claims, though, suggest the Union Government was intimately familiar with the operation, plotting its course from beginning to end.

Mumbra resident Ishrat was killed along with Javed Sheikh, also known as Pranesh Pillai, as well as alleged Pakistani nationals Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar, in Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. The CBI has alleged the four were killed in cold blood, after being kidnapped by police.

Earlier this month, though, 26/11 perpetrator David Headley sparked off renewed debate on the case, alleging in his testimony to a Mumbai court that Ishrat was a member of the Lashkar.

The Union Government first said in an affidavit to the Gujarat High Court that Ishrat was a Lashkar member. Later, however, the affidavit was changed to exclude information on her background.

In February 2004, intelligence sources say, the Intelligence Bureau was able to locate two Gujarat-based jihadists, trained in Pakistan, on the basis of information recovered from the body of a Poonch-based Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, Ehsan Illahi. The two Gujarat-based men are referred to in CBI documentation simply as C1 and C2.
C1 and C2 were persuaded to begin working for the IB. They informed their Lashkar handler, Muzammil Bhat — the key military commander of the 26/11 plot — that they were ready to stage an attack against top political leaders in Gujarat, including Narendra Modi.

The IB was thus waiting for Gujranwala-based Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Zeeshan Zohar, despatched to Gujarat in April on Bhat’s instructions. They also trapped Sargodha-born colleague Amjad Ali Rana — who was earlier injured in fighting in Jammu and Kashmir — who showed up the following month.

Immigration records show that on March 29, 2004, Javed Sheikh flew to Oman, on passport E6624023, identifying him as Praneshkumar M Gopinath Pillai — a travel document obtained illegally, in addition to an earlier one in his Muslim name. He flew back to Mumbai on April 11.

It’s still unknown what Ishrat was doing with Sheikh; nothing, bar Headley’s claim she was a suicide bomber, is on record. Her family insists she was just an innocent teenager, hired by Sheikh for a perfume business.

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  1. A
    Feb 27, 2016 at 9:52 am
    Sonia, Ahmed Patel were responsible for this . They tried to finish off our PM.PM. Modi who is the last hope for India and Indians.Media is biased againt Modi . Indian Media is a Paid Media. No dobut about it.
    1. A
      Feb 27, 2016 at 5:38 am
      Congress is worse than LeT. breaking and harming the country from inside
      1. A
        Feb 27, 2016 at 1:23 am
        Where was he all these days? Nation is losing integrity by loose and irresponsible talks of high profile personalities. For media coverage / changing party people can do anything.
        1. P
          Feb 26, 2016 at 11:38 pm
          1. S
            Feb 26, 2016 at 11:41 pm
            Helo...Helo....brahmin buggies. Everybody knows what is goin in in politics. Don't be c-u_mment to keep you GF Manu-smriti IRANI happy.
            1. F
              Feb 27, 2016 at 5:43 am
              Believers if this KRAP story are fools. This story was scripted by KERALITE SEKS film failed story writers hired enme by IB.
              1. I
                IML sood
                Feb 27, 2016 at 5:10 am
                Oh God what is coming out. Full UPA Govt. knowingly wanted to eliminate then serving CM and spreading anarchy in Gujarat to blame the Govt.Why like Banladesh a High level Commission is formed to investigate this and others deep rooted conspiracyand UPA high level leaders hauled up. Where are now loud mouthed Sharma ,Iyer, Diggy, Azad,Pappu,his Mom any many others. Q is under whose direction these activities were being done.People supporting these anti national parties are ought to open their eyes and judge how these leaders have pla their covert role to weaken our great country. Awake Indian awake,much danger lurking in side the country also.
                1. N
                  Feb 27, 2016 at 10:31 am
                  For Congress Party, "Nationalism" means: 1. Supporting terrorists such as Afsal Guru and Yakub Memon, and glorifying them as heros, 2. Endanger the national security by interfering in the works of intelligence agencies and remove terrorists names from FIRs, 3. Prosecute the intelligence officials who work to capture terrorists, 4. Har the officials who take action against terror elements, 5. Instigate students and youth to raise anti national slogans and call them as "free speech", 6. Looting the country to the core through scams like 2G and Coalgate, 7. Transferring the nation properties to the party owners - Italian mafia, 8. When not in power, block the functioning of the parliament through muscle power.
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