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CBI hushes up Ishrat’s terror link

Saturday, 06 July 2013 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

In a communication sent to the CBI in February this year, the Intelligence Bureau had asserted that Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley, during questioning by the FBI, had said that Ishrat Jahan, allegedly killed by the Gujarat Police in a fake encounter, had terrorist links and was a “female suicide bomber.”

During interrogation by the National Investigation Agency at a Chicago jail in 2010, Headley had told the Indian investigators that Ishrat had terrorist links.

The CBI probe into the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat and her accomplices has been supervised by agency Special Director Salim Ali and legal opinions have been obtained from Director of Prosecution Abdul Aziz.

However, the CBI charge sheet filed in the Ishrat encounter case does not deal with Ishrat or her accomplices’ credentials. Instead the CBI has termed the encounter as fake and claimed that the killings were committed after a criminal conspiracy was hatched by the Gujarat Police and officials of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau.

The charge sheet has also failed to mention the intention of the Gujarat Police and the IB in liquidating the alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists.

The BJP said that the Government is withholding crucial facts with regard to the background of the alleged LeT terrorists in an attempt to discredit Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his administration.

Even senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh has asked the Union Home Ministry to clarify whether Ishrat had any links with the Pakistan- based terror outfit LeT.

Singh, who met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, told reporters that he has asked the Ministry to clarify whether the 26/11 terror attack accused Headley had said that Ishrat had terror links. He said the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have given different statements on the issue.

In a more than 100 page report based on the questioning of Headley over seven days,  Indian investigators say he disclosed that  a senior Lashkar commander named Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, had told him in 2005 of a terror operation that had failed a few years ago in India as Ishrat and those assigned with her had died.

The NIA has not denied that Ishrat had terror links. The IB has asserted that the four killed in the “fake” encounter had terror links and this input was passed on to the Gujarat Police by its unit there.

Meanwhile, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha said that the agency is probing all angles of the Ishrat encounter case and is taking the assistance of the NIA and IB.

Sinha was responding to a question if the CBI is probing the statement given by Deputy Superintendent of Police DH Goswami before the Magistrate where he reportedly claimed that DIG, Crime Branch DG Vanzara, had got the nod from Gujarat’s political leadership for the encounter.

Later, Shinde said he would verify reports which suggested that Headley had told the NIA that Ishrat had links with the LeT.

Shinde said the Congress general secretary met him and requested him to look into the matter of Headley’s statement to NIA on Ishrat.



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