December 17, 2010 3:28:24 am
Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil told the Assembly Thursday that the state government had found no record of a telephone conversation between senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare on the day of the 26/11 terrorist attack.
Singh,who has claimed Karkare confided in him worries about threats from Hindu extremist groups allegedly involved in the Malegaon bombing,has had his version rejected earlier by the assassinated officers wife. Today,he said he was surprised by Patils statement.
Karkare was probing the Malegaon blast,but it has no link with the Mumbai terror attack. Karkare died fighting Pakistani terrorists on 26/11. The Congress leaders (Singhs) remarks could be his personal view. The state police machinery does not have any record of his conversation with Karkare on that fateful day, Patil told the House.
The Opposition,which has accused Singh of playing minority politics with Karkares death,had demanded that the home minister make a statement in the Assembly.
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Last week,Singh had told The Indian Express that two hours before Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists attacked Mumbai on November 26,2008,Karkare had rung him to say that his life was blighted by constant threats from those opposed to his probe into the Malegaon bombing.
Woh pareshaan the,(he was worried) and he told me he was… depressed and worried by threats and personal attacks…, Singh had said. Three days later,following a powerful rebuttal by Mrs Karkare and accusations of having lied,Singh had asserted that he spoke to Karkare from phone number +919425015461.
He said he had asked BSNL for the call records of November 26,2008,but had been told no records were kept for more than 13 months.
Asked for a comment on Patils statement today,Singh said,I was not expecting him to say that. He added that Patil was probably confusing Karkares call records from that morning with those of that evening.
Singh said Karkare had called him on the morning of November 26,2008,when he was sitting with AICC treasurer Motilal Vora. He had rung Karkare back,but the officer had not taken the call,Singh said. But that evening,the ATS chief had returned the call.
Singh said that the phone records that the Maharashtra home minister was talking about were of the morning of November 26,2008,while his conversation with Karkare had taken place in the evening.
I am not a liar. Why should I lie? Singh said,and chided the media for hyping it up.
Singh said senior Mumbai Police officer Rakesh Maria had spoken about phone calls to Karkare in the morning,while I spoke to him in the evening. Singh recalled that Marias role during 26/11 had been questioned by Vinita Kamte,wife of police officer Ashok Kamte,who died along with Karkare.
I said I had records. I did not know that BSNL does not keep records beyond a period of one year, Singh said,adding that a businessman and a securityperson were witnesses to his conversation with Karkare that night. Asked about Karkares widow Kavitas charges,Singh said,I do not want to bring Kavita Karkare into this.
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