Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram has defended the central
government's affidavit on the controversial killing of Mumbai girl
Ishrat Jahan and three others in an alleged fake shootout saying it
was "not evidence or conclusive proof".
"What is wrong with the affidavit? To
the best of my knowledge the affidavit says that intelligence inputs
were shared with the Gujarat government," Chidambaram told reporters
here Thursday after meeting the US Secretary of State Hillary
He said the affidavit "must be read in
Chidambaram was replying to a question
about the home ministry's viewpoint following a magisterial inquiry
in Gujarat that said Ishrat Jahan and three others were not
terrorists and had been killed by police officials in cold blood in
"You cannot read into it what it does
not say. I think it is self-evident that intelligence inputs are not
evidence, much less conclusive proof. They are just inputs. They are
shared with governments on a regular basis. That is not evidence or
conclusive proof. It gives leads to investigations and further
enquiry," he stated.
Ishrat, a college student, and her
friends Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Shaikh, Amjad Ali Rana and
Zeeshan Johar were shot dead by the Ahmedabad police's Crime Branch
on the outskirts of the Gujarat city June 15, 2004. Police said they
were Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists and were conspiring to kill
Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The Indian home ministry had filed an
affidavit in the Supreme Court, maintaining that the four had links
with the LeT.
Ahmedabad's metropolitan magistrate
S.P. Tamang's probe report released Monday asserted there was no
shootout between the four and the police. The report said the four
were students and had been kidnapped from Mumbai June 12, 2004, and
killed two days later.
Chidambaram said: "If a state
government acts as though intelligence inputs are evidence or
conclusive proof, I am sorry for that government. Certainly no one
suggested that based on an intelligence input you should kill
"I think too much is being attributed
to that affidavit... if it is meant to defend the government of
Gujarat against the excesses that may have been committed by its
police. I am sorry for the government of Gujarat and the manner in
which it runs its police administration," he said while speaking out
for the first time on the controversial affidavit.