Made only ‘editorial’ changes in Ishrat files, says Chidambaram

Mumbai: Amid the ongoing row over the controversial Ishrat Jahan case, former union home minister P. Chidambaram said that then home secretary G. K.Pillai went through affidavits related to the Ishrat Jahan encounter case thrice, and added that as minister, he only made ‘editorial’ changes to them as is a compulsive habit with lawyers like him.

He asked, “Tell me which part of the (second) affidavit is wrong, which sentence of the affidavit is wrong?”

“What does that paragraph in the second affidavit say? The second affidavit says: ‘The first affidavit has been misinterpreted. Intelligence Bureau only shares intelligence with the state government, intelligence information is not conclusive proof; it is for the investigation agency to gather evidence and present it to a court’,” Chidambaram told media on the sidelines of a book release function here.

When specifically asked about allegations levelled against him, Chidambaram said nobody has levelled any accusations against him.

“The officer who said he did not know anything about the affidavit, is on record in Guwahati on July 13, 2013, of which ANI has got a video which put out (and) says that the second affidavit was perfectly justified. He has changed his view. In a free country, a person is entitled to change his view. The second affidavit was vetted by the attorney general of India. No part of the second affidavit was wrong,” Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram reiterated that it is as is a compulsive habit with all lawyers; he made small ‘editorial’ changes in the affidavit.

“This is a habit of all lawyers. Any lawyer would put a comma here and there or strike out a word. Then the file went back to the home secretary. The files passed the home secretary’s table at least three times,” he said.

“And now, they say those papers are missing. To whose advantage has the vetted draft gone missing? I want the vetted draft. To whose interest is to say that the draft is missing? There is nothing to hide. I think the mystery has been unravelled now,” he further added.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier ordered an ‘internal inquiry’ to probe how files concerning the affidavits filed in the Ishrat Jahan case have gone missing.

Former home secretary G K Pillai had also claimed that there was “political interference” in the case which led to the deletion of reference to Lashkar-e-Taiba from the revised affidavit filed in 2009.

Ishrat Jahan was killed in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004.

The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides the Intelligence Bureau where it was said that the 19-year-old girl from Mumbai outskirts was a Lashkar-e-Taiba activist but it was ignored in the second affidavit.

The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist. (ANI)