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Ishrat should be given benefit of doubt: G K Pillai in 2013


New Delhi, March 4: Former Home Secretary G K Pillai, who has hit the headlines recently with his statements on the Ishrat Jahan killing, had said in 2013 that she has to be given the benefit of doubt on the issue whether she was an LeT operative.

"I don't think there is any conclusive evidence against Ishrat Jahan. Unless any proper investigation is carried out, we will have to give her the benefit of doubt," the retired bureaucrat had said in 2013.


Pillai had recently stoked a controversy saying that the the second affidavit of the Central government in Gujarat High Court filed in 2009 contradicting the earlier affidavit's claim that Jahan was an LeT operative was drafted by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram without consulting officials.

Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an alleged encounter with Gujarat Police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. After Pillai's recent statement, Chidambaram owned up responsibility for the second affidavit but expressed disappointment over the retired bureaucrat distancing himself from it.

Pillai had said last week that "I would say that she knew something was wrong and an unmarried Muslim girl would not go with a married person to different places, etc. spend the night outside....perhaps she knew that something was happening. She could have been a cover."

Asked to comment on his comments in 2013 and the recent remarks, he said, "My comment in 2013 was in a particularly context.

The context was not to vilify a dead person unless further investigation threw up more evidence. "I have said even now that evidence is not conclusive about Ishrat's LeT membership. But her conduct of travelling with Javed raises questions that something was amiss."


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