New Delhi, April 23: The one man panel probing the the mystery behind the missing papers relating to the Ishrat Jahan case has been told to speed up the process. The issue is likely to crop up in Parliament and will see an ugly war of words between the Congress and the BJP.
The Congress has been accused by the BJP of changing the course of the case in a bid to target Narendra Modi who was at that time the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The missing papers are extremely crucial for the BJP as they are likely to indicate the changed course of action. The BJP has said that the Congress deliberately changed the narrative in the Ishrat Jahan case, but the the latter has denied the allegation.
The one man panel comprising B K Prasad, the additional secretary in the home ministry has been speaking to various officials to find out about the missing papers. So far many officials have claimed ignorance and told him that they do not recollect any such papers.
The panel is now sending out letters to several officials for information about the papers. A lot would depend on the answers of these officials as it would help locate the missing papers or at least tell whether the narrative was changed.
The Congress has maintained that there was no change in the narrative and the affidavits were filed based on the facts that came up before them.
The BJP says that the Congress changed its narrative in the case. The Congress continued to brand Ishrat Jahan a terrorist indirectly through the affidavits it had filed in court.
When a magistrate report in Gujarat had termed the encounter as fake, Ishrat Jahan's mother had moved the High Court seeking an inquiry into the matter.
The Congress filed an affidavit in the High Court opposing the plea made by Ishrat's mother. The affidavit had quoted newspaper reports referring to a magazine published by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
According to the Ghaza Times, a mouth piece of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba Ishrat was a member of the outfit. This was quoted in the affidavit in 2009 when the Congress was in power.
These initial affidavits that were filed by the Congress never once said in clear terms whether Ishrat was a terrorist or not. The affidavits continued to quote the Ghazwa Times article and not intelligence inputs. All the Congress had indicated was that they were giving her the benefit of the doubt.
It was only later that the Congress began taking a more aggressive stand on the issue. However there were still many loop holes in the argument.
There was absolutely no clarity on what Ishrat was doing with the rest of the persons at the time of the encounter. At no point in time did any of the investigating agencies including the CBI state that the rest were innocent.
The former Home Secretary G K Pillai made a startling claim in which he stated that it was the insistence of the then home minister, P Chidambaram that the affidavits were changed.
Chidambaram had said that it was a collective decision. The BJP says that the Ishrat issue had become big for the Congress as they wanted to keep the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi down.