FRESH SPAT IN ISHRAT CASE OVER WIT­NESS TU­TOR­ING TALK

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Thurs­day ac­cused the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice (PMO) of run­ning a “dirty tricks depart­ment” amid re­ports that a se­nior of­fi­cial may have ma­nip­u­lated a probe into the al­leged dis­ap­pear­ance of doc­u­ments re­lated to the con­tro­ver­sial Ishrat Ja­han case.

A re­port in the In­dian Ex­press said a home min­istry of­fi­cial tried to tu­tor a wit­ness to de­fame for­mer home min­is­ter P Chi­dambaram in the case, po­ten­tially set­ting the stage for a fresh round of political bick­er­ing over the 2004 killing of four sus­pected ter­ror­ists in­clud­ing 19-year-old Ishrat in Ahmed­abad.

Sev­eral Gu­jarat po­lice of­fi­cials were later charged by the CBI for stag­ing a “fake en­counter”.

The miss­ing doc­u­ments re­late to prepa­ra­tion of an af­fi­davit that did not men­tion Ishrat’s ter­ror links and filed by the pre­vi­ous Congress gov­ern­ment in the Gu­jarat high court. An ear­lier af­fi­davit had linked the 19-year-old Mumbai girl and the three oth­ers to the Laskar-e-Taiba.

The BJP-led gov­ern­ment ac­cuses the pre­vi­ous Congress regime of ex­on­er­at­ing Ishrat of ter­ror charges to suit its political agenda of tar­get­ing Naren­dra Modi, who was the Gu­jarat chief min­is­ter when the en­counter took place in Ahmed­abad.

The Congress latched on to the re­port to get back at the BJP.

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