Thursday, February 25, 2016

Laskar Jihadi Ishrat `exonerated' under political pressure: Ex-home secy

Feb 26 2016 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Ishrat `exonerated' under political pressure: Ex-home secy
New Delhi

Former home secretary G K Pillai on Thursday said Ishrat Jahan was a cover for the LeT module out to target then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi before she and her three aides were killed in an encounter in 2004. He said the decision to revise home ministry's affidavit in the Ishrat encounter case so as to state that there was no conclusive proof of her Lashker link was taken at the “political level“.While Pillai was home secretary when the original MHA affidavit, which described Ish rat and her slain aides as LeT operatives, was revised in 2009, PChidambaram was the home minister. Only recently , after American LeT operative David Headley confirmed to a Mumbai court that Ishrat was linked to LeT, former IB officer Rajendra Kumar, who was probed in the case, had alleged that senior Congress politicians had worked on a CBI officer to misrepresent facts of the case.
Pillai told Times Now that Ishrat knew that “something was wrong“. “ An unmarried Muslim girl went with a married person, spent nights with him as husband and wife ... She was a cover for them,“ he said.
Suggesting that it was not fair to equate the Ishrat operation with a fake encounter, Pillai said: “This was an intel operation involving LeT. If it was an intel operation, you should not talk about fake encounter. We should make that distinction ... IB operations are not strictly within the ambit of the law. That's how it is all around the world.“
Incidentally M K Narayanan, who was National Security Advisor during the UPA, had recently said that intelligence agencies were aware that Ishrat was an LeT operative and “a key figure in a carefully planned“ operation of the terror outfit. He said the agencies had tracked the operational trail from Pakistan to Dubai, Kochi, Kashmir and Ahmedabad.
Incidentally, IB officers have raised questions in the past on why Ishrat's family in Mumbai did not file a missing person's FIR when she did not come home for days, during which her mother later alleged that she was in illegal custody.“Besides, how can the fact that she was hailed as a martyr on the Lashkar website and its mouthpiece Ghazwa Times be overlooked,“ asked an IB officer.
“LeT did put her name on the website and later withdrew it, so may be she was an unwitting player. (But) She was defi nitely part of the group which went around India and finally ended up in Gujarat with plot to take violent action against leaders. So the real issue is whether it was a real encounter or a fake encounter,“ said Pillai.
Disapproving of the way in which the case was politicised and handed over to CBI, Pillai told Times Now: “CBI has indulged in leaks. They should have exercised extreme discretion. If I was the home secretary, I would have called the CBI director and said look this is unacceptable. I personally would have not recommended a CBI probe.“

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