October 1, 2009
Centre says it did not justify Gujarat police action
In fresh affidavit filed in HC, it says it is open to an independent probe in the case
The Central government whose affidavit filed in August had boosted the stand of the state government with respect to the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, on Wednesday filed a fresh affidavit in Gujarat High Court, saying that it never justified the action of Gujarat police and that it had no objection to an independent inquiry in the case.
“The Central government was not concerned with the merits of the action taken by the Gujarat police and anything stated in the (earlier) affidavit was not intended to support or justify the action of the state police,” the fresh affidavit said.
While in the first affidavit the Central government had stated that Ishrat Jahan and three others were alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives and were on a mission to kill a political leader, this time however the affidavit has not touched upon that issue.
“The first affidavit did not address any issue relating to the merits or otherwise of the police action. It was essentially
concerned with dealing with the allegations relating to the ‘intelligence inputs’ which are available with the Central
government and which are shared on a regular basis with the state government,” sad the affidavit filed by RVS Mani, an under-secretary with the union home ministry.
The filing of the second affidavit by the Centre assumes significance as the state government had used the Centre’s first
affidavit as a ‘shield’ to defend its stand on the case after judicial magistrate SP Tamang in his inquiry report in September first week had concluded the encounter as fake. The state government which challenged the Tamang report in the high court cited that even “the Centre had said that the Ishrat and three of her accomplices were LeT operatives.” The high court later stayed the Tamang report.
Now, in the new affidavit, the Centre has said that the primary concern of the Central government was to see that the inputs gathered by the Indian security agencies and their efforts were not discredited. “It should be cleared to all that such inputs do not constitute conclusive proof and it is for the state government and the state police to act on such inputs. The Central government is in no way concerned with such action nor does it not condone or endorse any unjustified or excessive action,” it says.
The affidavit said: “If on proper consideration of the facts, it is found that an independent inquiry and investigation has be carried out by the CBI or otherwise, the Union government would have no objection to his and would abide by the decision of the high court.”
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government has termed the fresh affidavit as doublespeak of the Centre, aimed at policy of appeasement and vote bank politics. “On several occasions, the UPA government had said that the job of the Central intelligence was to provide inputs while providing security at the ground level was the job of the respective state governments,” state government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas said, alleging that the UPA government has taken an exactly opposite stand by filing the new affidavit. He accused the UPA government of virtually triggering a media trial
without waiting for the decision of the high court, which has formed a committee to investigate whether the incident was a fake encounter or not. “This has exposed the UPA government. What they do not realise is that people of Gujarat are not going to be misguided by them,” he said. Â—With Agencies