NewDelhi/Nagpur: Former bureaucrat RVS Mani has backed claims of political interference in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case during the Congress-led UPA rule. The former undersecretary has alleged that he was physically harassed during the interrogation to sign the second affidavit.
The affidavit had said that there was no conclusive evidence to show the four killed – Ishrat Jahan, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana – were terrorists.
Former bureaucrat RVS Mani has backed claims of political interference in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case during the Congress-led UPA rule.
“I drafted the first affidavit, it was a clear and exact affidavit. It was based on documents we had on file…I don’t know what was the reason for a second affidavit,” said Mani.
He added, “In 2013, I was hauled up and harassed. I drafted a note and sent it to my superiors. Immediate result was that many fellows chased me.”
The former bureaucrat also alleged physical torture by the then CBI officer Satish Verma. “He (Satish Verma) started narrating nonsense, became physical. He had put cigarette butts on my thighs,” alleged Mani.
Mani’s lawyer also alleged that the former bureaucrat was targeted for political gains. He said, “Because it was relating to Ishrat Jahan and there were political gains for some political party, that’s why they asked him to file the second affidavit. And the whole controversy has risen because the then Home Minister P Chidambaram is now saying that the first affidavit was not approved by him. It was filed in 2009.” He also questioned why Chidambaram remained silent on the issue for four years.
Reacting to the allegations by the former bureaucrat, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that the previous UPA government made attempts through the Ishrat Jahan case to target Narendra Modi, who was the Gujarat CM then, and Amit Shah.
“UPA tried to represent Ishrat and others as martyrs. Now these officers are speaking out about changing affidavit. Then PM and HM should come clean on who changed the affidavit,” said Naidu.
The Congress has, however, dismissed the allegations, with party leader Manish Tewari alleging that the government is using retired bureaucrats to settle political scores.