Ishrat Jahan: A tale of two testimonies
Ahmedabad, Dec 12: A few years back the Ishrat Jahan has become a subject matter of debate. The encounter of Ishrat and others at Gujarat had been termed as fake by many.
The Gujarat police which carried out the encounter of Ishrat and three others in the month of June 2004 had said that she was a Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative.
The case was even handled by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which probed the role of an Intelligence Bureau officer, Rajinder Singh, who was accused of intentionally providing false information that led to the killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others in June 2004.
David Headley was probed both by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Investigating Agency. While the FBI papers does make a mention of Ishrat, the files of the NIA are silent. Headley had told the FBI that Ishrat was a Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative. However when the NIA questioned Headley, they did ask him about the issue, but the probe was not furthered because they felt the allegations were based on hearsay.
A case of two testimonies:
The Ishrat Jahan issue came up before Headley when the FBI questioned him for the first time after his arrest. Headley had told the FBI that Ishrat was an operative of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
Headley stated she was a suicide bomber and was recruited by Muzzamil Bhat a Lashkar commander. But Headley said that he had never met her and added that it was through Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, he had heard about her.
The NIA however does not make a mention of the Ishrat issue in their 119 page report on Headley. When the NIA questioned him the issue did crop up and Headley said the same thing he had told the FBI. However the NIA felt that he was basing his allegation on hearsay. Moreover, the NIA also maintained at that time that their brief was restricted to the 26/11 probe.
The NIA had said that they realised that Headley never interacted with her. His statements were more of hearsay. The NIA had also planned on questioning him once again and said that they would raise the Ishrat issue in detail. However the fact of the matter is that the NIA never got to question him again.
Will Headley speak about the Ishrat issue when he testifies before the Mumbai court where he has turned approver. Officials say that it is unlikely since he will speak only about the 26/11 case.