The latest revelations in the Ishrat Jahan episode, have raised many questions, and it seems to be a bigger conspiracy than what we imagined. Each new revelation removes the veil of secrecy that there was a collaborated effort to damage one man, either physically, politically or judicially.
On 15th June 2004, in a coordinated operation of the Intelligence Bureau and Gujarat police killed four Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives in Gandhinagar. They were Javed Sheikh (alias Pranesh Pillai), a 19-year-old female suicide bomber of LeT, Ishrat Jehan and two Pakistani terrorists of LeT, Abdul Ghani Jeshan Johar and Amzad Ali Rana also known as Salim.
The sinister plan to execute some top BJP leader drew the two Pakistani Lashkar operatives to Gujarat along with Ishrat and Javed Sheikh. Senior leaders including Lal Krishna Advani, Bala Saheb Thackrey, Pravin Togadia, Ashok Singhal and Narendra Modi were on the hit list of LeT.
This group was on the radar of the security agencies for quite some time. But unknown to the group, the IB picked their chat originating from the satellite phone they were using while they were talking to an area commander of LeT called Muzammil in Pakistan. When they reached Gandhinagar, the satellite phone was again used, which had been kept under surveillance by the IB.
These four terrorists had entered Gujarat with an intention of assassinating Narendra Modi as at the time they reached Gandhinagar, none of the leaders on the hit list of LeT were present in Gujarat except the State CM Mr. Modi. All the four were intercepted and then encountered.
The first plot to eliminate Mr. Modi ‘physically' was foiled.
The Gujarat Police filed a report stating that Ishrat, along with three other Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives had been gunned down by the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) of the Ahmedabad City Police. At that time, the UPA Government took a firm stand that Ishrat and group were LeT operatives, and the encounter was genuine. The police claimed that the four were connected with the LeT and had come to Gujarat to assassinate the then chief minister Narendra Modi. Even a magazine which is the mouthpiece of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Ghazwa Times had hailed the martyrdom of Ishrat and the rest.
The next major attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba was the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in 2008. In my opinion, this was the worst ever attack on Indian soil. We shall look into how this was used to eliminate Mr. Modi "politically", later.
Five years later, in 2009, the UPA Govt. took a complete U-turn when P Chidambaram became the Home Minister. Based on allegations that the representation of the Ishrat Jahan encounter by the police was false, and the killings were deliberate and unlawful, Ahmedabad Metropolitan court ruled that the encounter was staged.
Ishrat was declared innocent moon-faced Muslim girl by the intelligentsia and used by the UPA government to attack Mr. Modi, this time, "Judicially." A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up to probe the case further.
What is most frightening in this investigation or in any such investigation to do with Jihadis, is that there has always been an attempt by the Congress Party that has gone out of its way to promote the idea that Hindu communalism is the real threat to India.
Soon after the 26/11 attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2008, CM of Bihar, JD(U)'s Nitish Kumar whose state's borders have nothing to do with Pakistan visited there as a state guest. It's an irrelevant insertion here.
The prize minion of Congress Party, Digvijay Singh was found launching a book "26/11- RSS KI SAZISH."
There was a Muslim disenchantment with the party, and the scam-a-day regime was explained as a ‘sideshow' to divert attention from the Congress's crushing defeat in the Gujarat local elections and near complete rout in Bihar.
"Who Killed Karkare" was another book, aimed at denigrating the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Police, to demoralize them.
Thankfully, Ajmal Kassab was caught, and their telephone conversations were intercepted between him, his other comrades and their masterminds who were directing the operations from Pakistani soil, we would not have been able to prove that India was a victim of terror attacks from across the border. Moreover, the attempt to tarnish the image of BJP and Narendra Modi ‘Politically' was foiled.
There are few elements (Congress ecosystem) within the administration in India who have utterly bizarre notions about the origins of terror attacks on Indian soil. One such man was an IPS officer named Satish Verma, whose views on the origins of 26/11 terror attacks and even the 2001 Parliament attack had already attracted the attention of the sensational and bizarre nature of his claims. He said that both these attacks were orchestrated by none other than the Indian Govt. or were the handiwork of Indian Intelligence Agencies. Bizarre or perhaps Interesting!!
MHA filed a detailed affidavit on Aug 6, 2009, which proved that inputs provided by IB were all correct. Mr. G K Pillai was home secretary when the original MHA affidavit that described Ishrat and her slain aides as LeT operatives. Within two months, the affidavit was revised in 2009 when P Chidambaram was the home minister. The revised affidavit struck off the insertion that Ishrat was a LeT operative, saying there was no conclusive evidence.
The MHA under P Chidambaram was either trying to prove terrorists as innocent or attempting to settle political scores "Judicially' or both.
Interestingly, it appeared that the Indian media, especially the English media repeatedly charged Gujarat Police for fake encounter, questioning the allegations against Ishrat Jahan. It seems they were targeting two specific men in this case; Narendra Modi and Amit Shah hand in glove with their political masters. The desperate attempt to use Ishrat killing to implicate Narendra Modi and Shah was entirely based on innuendoes and hearsay.
In the meantime CM of Bihar claimed that Ishrat was innocent and went on to call her ‘Bihar Ki Beti' (daughter of Bihar). Irrelevant, but that is how appeasement politics patronizes terrorists in one's backyard.
When in 2009, the Government decided to investigate the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case to be fake or not, they appointed an SIT and was supposed to be headed by a top cop who knew terrorism, law and also high in credibility.
The first officer Karnail Singh decided to leave this job citing he is unable to handle it. Was it the political pressure that he could not handle? The officer was then transferred to Mizoram. The second officer who was asked to head this job also refused. No upright officer would voluntarily reject a challenging job unless it is impossible for him to work or it is entirely unacceptable to do something being asked. What were they asked for is a matter of investigation.
Then a third officer was selected who had a total conflict of interest in this case and against the people he was investigating. There had been a long history on record of acrimonious exchanges between the IB officer Rajinder Kumar and the investigating officer. There had been series of allegations by the then IB officer Rajender Kumar on this SIT head, which was under investigation, they were investigated, and the investigating officer was found to be at fault. With that grudge, that man should not have been the investigating officer in the first place. Interestingly, this investigating officer, who was heading SIT, was none other than Mr. Satish Verma.
In 2011, SIT claims that the encounter was fake and based on their findings, the policemen involved were accused of murder, and cases were filed against them. CBI had filed a charge-sheet against Kumar and three other IB officers despite Law ministry's denial of sanction to prosecute them. Besides Kumar, a 1979 batch IPS officer who retired last year, those named in the charge sheet are P Mittal, MK Sinha, and Rajiv Wankhede.
Meanwhile, North Bihar became a hub of Indian Mujahideen. Not to be forgotten, the IM terrorists made another attempt to assassinate Narendra Modi in Patna on 27th October 2013. Luckily for India, another attempt to eliminate Mr. Modi ‘physically" was also foiled.
Let us now look at the recent revelations that corroborate the chronological attempts to settle political scores above.
Rajinder Kumar - Rajinder Kumar who was the Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau was part of the team which tracked down this operation and without a doubt, these persons were terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He further claimed that he was pressurized to implicate the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi in Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
Making the explosive claims, Kumar, a 1979 batch IPS officer who retired last year, said a very senior Congress leader hailing from Gujarat was the mastermind of the conspiracy to defame Narendra Modi. While presenting his side of the story, the ex-IB officer said, "As Modi had emerged the biggest challenge to the UPA government, they wanted me to give a statement, which could be used as evidence to implicate the ex-Gujarat CM."
David Coleman Headley - David Headley was indicted in the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai by LeT. This man, who conducted extensive reconnaissance on behalf of the Lashkar, was interrogated by the FBI in Chicago. The question was simple. How could David Headley have known Ishrat Jahan and the plan to assassinate Narendra Modi unless Ishrat was indeed a Lashkar operative?
Interestingly it transpired that Headley's testimony was not included by the CBI as they considered it to be hearsay.
Later a letter from 25th June 2010 emerged which was sent by Daniel Cleg, the person for the FBI in Delhi to the Intelligence Bureau. The second part of the letter says that Zaki-ur-Rehman (top Lashkar leader) told Headley that a female suicide bomber named Ishrat Jahan was hired by Muzammil, the area commander of LeT.
Also, not to anybody's surprise, Indian media hardly reported what Headley said about Ishrat but only about the innocence of the young Muslim Girl.
Former Union home secretary G K Pillai on Thursday said Ishrat Jahan was a cover for the LeT module out to target then Gujarat CM 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 Lashkar link was taken at the "political level." He also added that the operation to neutralize the terror module to which she belonged was right.
The dangerous game of trying to prove terrorists as innocent to settle political scores is frightening. On at whose exact behest was this being done in this supremely important case warrants a proper investigation? The question is can we expect such an investigation soon?