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Cong, BJP ask MHA to clarify stand on Ishrat Jahan’s terror link

The Congress and the BJP with different interests are putting pressure on the Ministry of Home Affairs to clarify whether Ishrat Jahan, allegedly killed by Gujarat police on 15 June 2004, was a Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist or not. Seeking to give a political twist to the raging controversy over Ishrat’s alleged terror links, Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Friday asked the Home Ministry to clarify whether she had any link with the terror outfit.

Singh, who met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, told reporters he has asked the ministry to clarify whether the 26/11 terror accused David Headley had said Ishrat had terror links. He mentioned the difference in statements by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the CBI. ‘NIA is saying something, IB is saying something and CBI is saying something else. There should be clarity on what these government agencies are saying,’ Singh said.
Headley was questioned by the NIA in 2010 as part of its investigation in the Mumbai terror attack case when he was in US custody.

Reports suggested NIA investigators initially said that Headley had disclosed that LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, had told him (Headley) in 2005 of a terror operation that failed in India as Ishrat and those assigned with her had died.

This information was reportedly in Headley’s interrogation report that was given to the IB. The document was also said to have been made available to a section of the media. Later, the two paras that refer to Ishrat were missing from the report. NIA sources maintained Headley’s comments are not legally admissible in any case other than 26/11 and his account is based on second-hand information.

Shinde said he would verify reports which suggested that Headley had told NIA that Ishrat had LeT links.  ‘Digvijay Singh has met me. Let me look into the matter raised by him,’ Shinde said. The BJP said the home ministry must clarify its position.

Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the CBI chargesheet in the Ishrat case has raised questions. ‘Is the CBI chargesheet based on inputs from home ministry, or is it based on evidence?’ she asked.
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