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‘No conspiracy in the killing of ATS officers’

New Delhi Bureau

Antulay: my doubts now cleared

NEW DELHI: The Central government on Tuesday rejected the suggestion of a conspiracy in the killing of three senior officers of Maharashtra’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS), including its head Hemant Karkare. It informed Parliament that their death was “tragically fortuitous.”

However, the government’s attempt to cap the controversy sparked by Minister for Minority Affairs A. R. Antulay’s remarks did not succeed. The Opposition was dissatisfied with the statement and continued to disrupt Parliament all day.

To err is human: PM

Later, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told journalists that the matter should be allowed to rest as Home Minister P. Chidambaram had made a statement on the circumstances leading to the officers’ death. “I think to err is human. The matter should be allowed to rest.”

On his part, Mr. Antulay said his doubts were now cleared since Mr. Chidambaram’s statement had come after a probe he had sought.

Mr. Chidambaram said that questions about the investigations conducted by Karkare in a terror case and the circumstances in which he was killed were equally regrettable.

“In the days before his death, questions were raised about the genuineness of the investigations conducted by Karkare in a terrorist [Malegaon] case. After his death, questions are being raised about the circumstances in which he was killed. In my view, both are wrong and deeply regrettable.”

Calling for a united and determined fight against terror, he said the investigators had concluded that there was no truth in the suspicion that there was a plot to eliminate Karkare or others.

“There is also no truth in the different versions that have been circulated about the movement of Karkare on that fateful day. Karkare appears to have acted, after conferring with his colleagues, with speed and purpose in response to a crisis situation. While it is indeed unfortunate that three brave officers and their men boarded one Qualis vehicle, the circumstances in which they came under fire and were killed were tragically fortuitous.”

With the NDA first staging a walkout and then vociferously protesting the statement, saying it was only an account of the sequence of events and pressing for Mr. Antulay’s dismissal, Mr. Chidambaram tabled it mid-way in the Lok Sabha. In the Rajya Sabha, which also saw successive adjournments on the issue, he tabled it amid protests.

>Home Minister's statement on death of Hemant Karkare Related links

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