New Delhi: A former Home Ministry official, who had filed two affidavits in Gujarat High Court in the Ishrat Jahan case, had claimed that member of the SIT on the killings had told him that 26/11 Mumbai attacks and Parliament attack were “orchestrated by the Government in power”.
R V S Mani, who filed the affidavits as Under Secretary in the Home Ministry in 2009, had told the then Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna on June 21, 2013 about his deposition before the court-appointed SIT as he was posted in that Ministry at that time.
In his statement to Krishna, Mani had said that during the course of recording of the statement in Gandhi Nagar in Gujarat, the IG of the SIT Satish Chandra Verma had asked him many questions which he was not privy to or which officially were never in his domain during the tenure in the Home Ministry.
“He (Verma) started narrating as to how 13.12.2001 attack on Parliament of India and 26.11.2008 attacks are orchestrated by the government in power.
“He (Verma) stated that both these were the objective of strengthening the counter terrorist legislation. He narrated that December 13, 2001 was followed by POTA and November 26, 2008 was followed by amendment to UAPA wherein even Rs 10 in anybody’s pocket can be treated as proceeds of terrorism.
“I told him (Verma) that he is entitled to his view but such view is generally held as ISI’s view in the security establishment,” Mani wrote in his note to Krishna.
Mani had claimed that Verma “coerced” him to sign some papers “knowing fully well that this would tantamount falsely indicting my seniors at the extant time”.
“I declined to sign any statement. They have recorded some contents under the premise the Section 161 of CrPC does not require signature of the witness.
“In view of the above it is my request that, in future, I shall be willing to record the statements to CBI only in the presence of CVO or his authorised representatives of the Ministry as well as after contents have been duly vetted by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” Mani said.
However, Verma denied the allegations against him.
He said that most of the officers who are talking in the matter have retired which includes Mani and G K Pillai, former Home Secretary.
And as far as allegations levelled by former Special Director of IB Rajinder Kumar are concerned, he is an accused.
“So the officers who are talking can afford to state certain things which are not backed by facts.
“I am in service and I was assisted by the CBI in the investigations. I have been a part of the investigation everywhere, that I say, will be backed up by evidence,” he said.
“There was no probe when he (Mani) said it first time and if two and a half years after somebody wants a probe – most welcome,” Verma said.
Meanwhile, an IPS officer, who had earlier worked with the NIA, jumped into the fray and claimed that American-born terrorist David Headley had named Ishrat as LeT operative during his questioning in 2010.
Loknath Behera, an IPS officer of Kerala cadre, whose central deputation was unceremoniously cut short, said that he “did not remember exactly what Headley had spoken about Ishrat”. But when he recently heard about his video deposition before the Mumbai court, he could recall “the same things” Headley had told to an NIA team in 2010.
Headley, during his deposition before the Mumbai court, did not even remember the name of Ishrat and it was only when public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam prodded him with multiple choice answers that he could reply with deceased name.
According to earlier testimony before the NIA, Headley had reportedly claimed that when he was being introduced to Lashker’s top brass, there was a sarcastic remark about Ishrat when he was taken to Muzamil, who was in charge of the Kashmir operations of the terror group.