A day after The Indian Express reported on how an official heading the Home Ministry probe into the “missing documents” in Ishrat Jahan encounter case tutored a witness, former home minister P Chidambaram said Thursday that 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.”
“The Indian Express report completely vindicates the position that I had taken on the two affidavits,” he said in a statement.
A statement released by Chidambaram said:
Chidambaram said that the first affidavit of the Centre, which disclosed the intelligence inputs that were shared with the state, was “misinterpreted and misused to defend” the encounter. This prompted the Centre to file a second affidavit, clarifying that intelligence inputs “do not constitute conclusive proof” and it is for the state government and the state police to act on them, he said.
“The first affidavit (on 6 August, 2009) disclosed the intelligence inputs that had been shared by the central government with the state government. Judge Tamang in his report (on 7 September, 2009) found that Ishrat Jahan and three others had been killed in a fake encounter. The report caused an uproar in Gujarat and elsewhere. The first affidavit was misinterpreted and misused to defend the encounter.”
“It was, therefore, necessary to clarify the first affidavit. Hence, a further affidavit was filed (on 29 September, 2009) 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,” Chidambaram said.
He said the contents of the “further affidavit”, especially paragraphs 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 said.
As far as the “missing documents” are concerned, he said: “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. The draft of the further affidavit was vetted by the Attorney General, the highest law officer of the country, before it was filed”.
“The file passed through the hands of the Home Secretary at least three or four times. Ultimately, the further affidavit was filed in court on the orders of the Home Secretary. Of course, I take full responsibility for filing the further affidavit, which was absolutely the correct thing to do,” he said.
Chidambaram added: “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.”