The Home Ministry seems to be dragging its feet over CBI’s request to provide files related to contradictory affidavits submitted by it on the antecedents of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat High Court.
The Home Ministry is unlikely to provide all the documents related to the case citing national security concerns and may move court seeking exemption from disclosure, official sources said.
The Ministry, which has asked for Law Ministry’s opinion on whether the confidential information sought by CBI was relevant to the investigation of the case, will write back to the premier investigating agency in due course, they said.
The CBI had sent a request to the Home Ministry to provide it with the files related to affidavits filed by its under secretary R.V.S. Mani in the high court in 2009 within a span of two month giving contradictory versions on Ishrat’s antecedents. Ishrat was killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2004 in Ahmedabad with Gujarat Police claiming that she had links with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit.
The Home Ministry, if necessary, will move the court with the confidential documents saying making them public or using them as evidence may compromise country’s security interests so it should get “privilege of exemption” from disclosure for the documents. However, no final decision has been taken on the issue.
In the affidavit filed on August 6, 2009, Ishrat and three others were termed as terrorists while in the affidavit filed on September 30, 2009, the Ministry claimed that there was no conclusive evidence to suggest she was a terrorist.
Mr. Mani was questioned by the agency in this regard but he could not given any satisfactory reply about the changing stance on 19-year-old Ishrat who was killed along with three others nine years ago in an alleged fake encounter.
The sources said CBI has sought the files related to inputs which had become the basis for change in position so that it gets a clear picture of why opinion was changed in such a short period.
The agency has filed its first charge sheet in connection with the fake encounter case and is likely to file another in the next six weeks which is likely to carry the conspiracy behind the killing of Ishrat, Javed Sheikh, Zishan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana allegedly by a team of Gujarat Crime Branch.
The agency believes the files related to the said affidavit could be important as they could reveal the role of people who might have been interested in portraying Ishrat as terrorist. The agency in its charge sheet has not given antecedents of any of the four killed but might give it in the next charge sheet.