Joining the raging debate, former Law Minister Veerappa Moily today justified the UPA Government's decision to file a second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case and criticised the then Home Secretary G K Pillai for distancing himself from it.
"Here is a home secretary who disowns his responsibility today. I think (this is) highly condemnable," said Moily, during whose tenure as Law Minister the controversial second affidavit was filed.
The then UPA government had submitted two affidavits-- one that the four, including Jahan who were killed in an alleged fake encounter--were terrorists and the second saying there was no conclusive evidence within two months in 2009.
Pillai had yesterday claimed that the then Home Minister P Chidambaram had recalled the file a month after the original affidavit was filed in the court, which had described Ishrat and her slain aides as LeT operatives.
Failing to recall whether the affidavit had come to his ministry for vetting, Moily said, "That I don't remember. But normally after it (affidavit) is finalised by the administrative ministry it should be referred either to the Law Ministry or Attorney General or whatever. "
This is how it is done, he said adding, "but there is no crime in filing a second affidavit. The first affidavit was filed based on the IB and intelligence inputs. The second affidavit was (filed) taking into consideration investigation report.
"Investigation becomes very important because it clearly discloses.. And that is what being done now. That is no crime it has to be done. Otherwise, any court would have found fault (with it)," he added.
Defending Chidamabaram, Moily said that "he (Chidambaram) says that they were trapped by the intelligence to come to Gujarat. That itself will corroborate a fact that it was a fake an encounter."
"You bring them, arrest them and in the custody you shoot them down. It is unknown in international law or in our own law," Moily said.
"People can have weak memory. That was a period when there was a series of encounters which are unknown in the history of any state," Moily said.
A Congress senior spokesman Anand Sharma was also critical of Pillai.
"After a gap of six-and-a-half years, the Home Secretary is speaking. The fact of the matter is that the then Home Secretary had seen the affidavit as the Home Minister has said," Sharma told reporters.
Besides, he said, Pillai as Home Secretary had made a public statement on July 17, 2013 in Guwahati justifying filing of the two affidavits.
"Pillai's own credibility is in question. Where is he now? What is he doing? Are his new masters and benefactors telling him to say as the matter pertains to Gujarat. He is working for a big business house - Gujarat based. Is he looking for more?" Sharma asked.